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Deprived Area Fund to be extended for the Highlands

Communities in Scotland are to benefit from new funding to boost employment and tackle poverty, The Highland Council has announced.

The Deprived Area Fund will provide £440,000 for each of the next three years, with the most deprived areas receiving the highest share.

The City of Inverness area will get £160,000; Caithness & Sutherland £100,000; Skye, Ross & Cromarty £130,000; Lochaber £30,000; and Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey £20,000.

The area committees will now decide how this funding is to be spent, focusing on helping people to learn new skills and increase employment.

Chairman of The Highland Council’s PED Committee, Cllr Thomas Prag said: “We have put considerable financial resources and effort into the Deprived Area Fund Programme over the last three years and the various successes are down to the huge engagement and voluntary efforts of hundreds of people and agencies that are working together to develop better communities.

“We want to keep this momentum of energy and commitment going so we have taken the opportunity to review and plan for the future. Devolving the decision making to Area Committees and the revised criteria will increase flexibility and allow the focus to be clearly on making long term progress in deprived areas and aligning our work to complement the other initiatives that are running.

“As well as creating as wide a geographical benefit as possible, the Fund will give Area Committees the opportunity to determine the best use of how money is spent taking into account local issues. Tapping into this knowledge of local need will make sure the allotted money has the most impact and acts as a catalyst for social and economic change.

“It is all about helping people make a difference to their lives by creating real job opportunities with prospects for the future. The aim is also to give communities support to develop and implement activities that can improve the quality of life and boost regeneration for many years to come.”

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