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Many left disappointed at coastal fund decisions

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Many left disappointed at coastal fund decisions

DISAPPOINTMENT has been expressed after 42 projects, including many in Galloway, missed out on grants from the Community Coastal Benefit Fund.

Only 15 schemes were successfully supported at Dumfries and Galloway’s communities committee last week, out of 57 who had put in bids.

Ten of them are in the Wigtownshire area.

However, Mid Galloway and Wigtown West Councillor Jackie McCamon believes an opportunity has been missed to help more groups.

She said: “The Community Coastal Benefit Fund is a great opportunity for organisations across the Wigtownshire and the region to apply for financial help with some really great projects that will help boost their local coastal community.

“At Communities Committee last week, the recommendations set out in the papers only supported 14 out of 57 projects in full and a further one receiving approximately 31 per cent of the recommended award. The remaining 42 projects have a nil award.”

She has been contacted by many of those who lost out and has had to explain what happened at the meeting, when £762,342 was available.

The councillor said: “To achieve maximum benefit and a fair distribution of the funds available throughout the region, the council’s Conservative group proposed that all 57 projects be supported using an alternative formula based on the scoring panel recommendations.

“The debate took a disappointing turn, with all other parties in the committee voting down the positive proposal.

“I cannot express enough, how disappointed I was with the result of the vote. It was quite astonishing that the other parties voted against smaller community projects in Wigtownshire, and the wider region, having any chance of benefiting from this funding.”

She noted there had been a significant rise in applications this year, which stretched the available funds, adding: “Previous years it has been underspent, rolling over to the following year. Thus, in my view, providing legitimate reason for an alternative way forward.

“I can’t help but feel this was party politics at its best. If it was, then 42 organisations across our region lost an opportunity to flourish.”

Cllr McCamon stressed she respects the decision of the committee and is pleased 14 organisations will be funded.

But she added: “Please be assured that going forward, the application process will be reviewed to avoid such vast disappointment for the allocation of next year’s fund.”

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