Argyll groups secure coronavirus cash to help vulnerable

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Groups helping Argyll and Bute communities through the coronavirus crisis have been awarded more than £440,000 from a Scottish Government fund.

Across Scotland, £40 million will be available through the Supporting Communities Fund as part of government investment announced on March 18 in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

An initial £10 million has been released, including £2.68 million for community anchor organisations across the highlands and islands being distributed through Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

In Argyll and Bute, 22 community groups have been handed a total of £442,483, with two island organisations – South Islay Development and Mull and Iona Community Trust – each receiving £50,000.

Craignish Community Council will get £24,875; Dalavich Development Group £5,009; Isle of Gigha Development Trust £11,000; Isle of Jura Development Trust £3,320; North Knapdale Community Council £6,850  and Tarbert and Skipness Community Trust £23,607.

The award to Tarbert and Skipness Community Trust (TSCT) will support the most vulnerable members of the community through Team Tarbert, the volunteer group set up at the start of lockdown to help people who were shielding, self-isolating or needed extra assistance.

Team Tarbert has faced pressure on its resources as lockdown continues  and the money will be spent on volunteer expenses, PPE for volunteers, insurance, mobile phones and the establishment of a hardship fund.

TSCT chairwoman Sheila Campbell welcomed the funding. ‘We are delighted the trust secured funding,’ she said.

‘For the past few weeks, TSCT and Team Tarbert have been supporting people in our communities with help from Airigh, Cour and RES Freasdail windfarms among others, and this grant will allow us to continue this support for some time to come.’

Team Tarbert co-ordinator Fiona McTaggart responded: ‘We are extremely thankful to receive these funds and the ongoing support from TSCT. This will give everyone we are helping peace of mind that we can continue to provide support.

‘We are also grateful to work with Tarbert Academy, Councillor Anne Horn and the wider community to take care of those who need us most during this time. The amount of support we’ve received from so many individuals and businesses has been phenomenal. That, together with our army of volunteers and wonderful community, is what makes Team Tarbert work.’

‘HIE is distributing the Supporting Communities Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government,’ added Kirsten Logue, HIE development manager, ‘which will help anchor groups co-ordinate and deliver their response.’