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Assynt Community Council, Community Care Assynt, Connect Assynt and Assynt Development Trust working together

The Supporting Communities Fund – Funding to support a community response to Covid-19.

In March 2020, the Scottish Government announced an investment of £350 million to support local communities and households across Scotland in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.  These funds included the Supporting Communities Fund which was established with an initial £10 million investment and was targeted through community anchor organisations.  Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) distributed the funds on behalf of the Scottish Government to anchor organisations within the Highlands and Islands.  HIE aimed for a targeted approach working closely with partners and communities to identify key anchor organisations with the ability to deliver and distribute funds to the grassroots level.

HIE approached Assynt Development Trust to see if the Trust was willing to act as Assynt’s community anchor organisation for this purpose and to invite the Trust to develop an application to the fund to support the Assynt community.  Working together with Assynt Community Council (ACC), Community Care Assynt (CCA) and Connect Assynt (CA), an expression of interest was submitted, then following further discussions a final application cost at £29,008 was submitted to HIE in mid-April 2020, which was accepted in full on 29th April 2020.

The grant funds have been able to be used with some flexibility in responding to impacts of Covid-19, but aiming to fulfil the following stated and agreed on activities and outputs across Assynt:

  • Assessing and managing risk and provision of information resources

  • Hot daily meal deliveries to isolated and high-risk individuals

  • Local food bank establishment and operation

  • Provision of consumables and equipment including PPE

  • Contingency fund including support to enable working with other groups

  • Supplies collection from outside Assynt

Assynt Community Council (ACC) and Community Care Assynt (CCA), who run the Assynt Centre, initiated the Assynt response to the threat of Covid-19, and both those bodies and Connect Assynt joined in partnership with ADT, as the Assynt Resilience Group, to develop and take forward the SCF project and wider work around Covid-19 response.

The role of the ADT was to act as the community anchor organisation with the legal powers to receive the funding which it could then distribute and to be accountable to the Scottish Government for the expenditure.

Since its formation, Assynt Resilience Group, often working with other local partners, has delivered the following:

– Local Food Bank service with food deliveries to around 60 individuals per week at the height of the economic impact of the first lockdown.

– Face mask production and distribution to all Assynt Residents, including providing paid work for local craftspeople.

– Provision of Hand sanitiser, hand sanitiser dispensers, PPE etc. and advice to local businesses including tourism businesses.

– Hot meals delivery, providing nutritious food and social contact to older people unable to attend Assynt Centre lunches due to forced closure of the centre due to Covid 19.

– Creation in the coming weeks of a Food Larder, to continue provision of food to the economically hard-hit while also reducing food waste (to be sited at Assynt Leisure Centre, in partnership with Assynt Leisure).

Besides SCP funding, Assynt Resilience Group also sourced further funding funds through the North Highlands Initiative and Scotland’s Towns Partnership towards the costs of sanitiser and PPE for local groups and businesses.

Since the closure of the grant period for the SCF grant on 30th September 2020, it has been agreed to continue the Assynt Resilience Group partnership, welcoming involvement from other local organisations and individuals and aiming to address wider economic issues likely to deteriorate due to economic impacts of Covid 19.

If there are any queries about the Assynt Resilience Group and its work, then please contact us on emails below:

General Enquiries:

Liam Taylor (Assynt Community Council)

David Slator (Community Care Assynt)

Willie Jack (Assynt Development Trust)

Roddie Kerr (Connect Assynt)

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