Over£2m has been allocated to 22 priority areas by way of their Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) for improvements to access and quality of rural services in some of Scotland's most disadvantaged rural areas.
The rural development minister Ross Finnie said:
'The Executive is committed to tackling disadvantage and improving services in rural areas. Improving access to services is vital in maintaining thriving and viable rural communities.
'Through working closely with CPPs we will deliver visible improvements to each priority area which will deliver real benefits for rural Scotland.
'By encouraging networking and sharing of best practice between RSPAs and CPPs, we are also helping to ensure successful delivery now and across rural Scotland in future.'
Some of the services include:
Argyll & Bute (Islay North, Jura and Colonsay) -£40,000 to support the purchase of a fast ferry service. This will be managed by local authority transport planners and will transform the range of travel options and destinations for island residents and visitors.
South Ayrshire -£4,400 towards improving support for those in need of care through the development of a trained pool of community based carers.
Dumfries & Galloway -£58,000 towards improving existing public transport for the residents in Tariff, Stewartry North and Castle Douglas.
Orkney (Sanday, North Ronaldsay and Stronsay) -£80,000 to improve the surfaces of 4 runways on the islands.
Western Isles -£35,000 towards the extension of childcare facilities and employment in Barra.
East Ayrshire (Dalmellington, Catrine, New Cummock and surrounding areas) -£30,000 additional resources to be allocated to Strathclyde Police for general youth diversion activity.
Highland -£3,000 to develop and train 4 volunteers to deliver a library service to housebound residents in Skye.£20,000 towards providing facilities suitable for youth groups in Helmsdale.
Angus -£25,000 towards increasing the number of recycling centres available to residents around Brechin.
A detailed breakdown of the allocations is also available.
Many of the Executive's Closing the Opportunity Gap targets have rural implications, but a specific rural target has been included to ensure a strong focus on service delivery for rural Scotland. The rural target is 'By 2008, improve service delivery in rural areas so that agreed improvements to accessibility and quality are achieved for key services in remote and disadvantaged communities.'
A feature of some rural areas is a lack of accessibility for key services. This can have a significant impact on quality of life. Research highlights that disadvantage in rural areas is often caused or exacerbated by distance or the uneconomic nature of providing services (due to lower population numbers) and by stigma that can be associated with accessing certain services in a small community.
On December 28 2005 Mr Finnie announced funding totalling£2.2m to support the rural services work. Funding has been allocated on the basis of£100,000 for each of 22 Rural Service Priority Areas (RSPAs) selected on the basis of overall levels of deprivation and low service accessibility. Delivery will be via Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs), with funds made available through their relevant Local Authorities. It was for CPPs to decide how best to spend this money to meet local priorities, subject to measurable, targeted improvements being reached. Targets, to be achieved by March 2008, have now been agreed between the Executive and each of the eight CPPs involved.
A commissioned social research project on 'Service Priority, Accessibility and Quality in Rural Scotland' has just been completed and will be published. This examines perceptions of services across the RSPAs and has been used to inform the discussions with CPPs on services and targets for improvement to be agreed.
A Rural Advisory Group of representatives from key delivery agencies and rural communities includes members from SCVO, D&G Council, Argyll & Bute Council, Community Planning Partnerships, Local Rural Partnerships, and Royal Mail has assisted in taking forward the initiative.
The full breakdown of allocations:
Western Isles/Uig and Bernera
Expansion of Community Shop and continuation of the Post Office service -£50,000
A restructuring of and a horticultural scheme for the Bernera Community Centre -£50,000
Western Isles/Harris South
Provision of a refurbished sports field in Leverburgh on the tip of Harris by the Leverburgh Enhancement Group -£100,000
Western Isles/Daliburgh and Eriskay
Upgrade and refurbishment of Eriskay Hall -£25,000
Building upgrade and refurbishment to Community Thrift Shop -£45,000
New play park created in the grounds of the established childcare premises -£30,000
Western Isles/ Barra and Vatersay
Setting up of Instrument Bank for Feis Barraigh to provide classes for both children and adults and to retain employment of tutors -£10,000
Purchase of Play Park equipment -£10,000
Purchase of equipment and training by Voluntary Action Barra and Vatersay to allow the setting up a community radio service -£8,000
Provision of various training for community groups and individuals including Training the Training in First Aid -£10, 000
Purchase of essential equipment for the retention of employment and a feasibility study for the North Bay Port users -£32,000
Employment of two people by CneS to instigate island clean up to enhance the environment and promote better land management -£35,000
Extension and refurbishment of Care Centre by Cobhair Bharraigh to provide enhanced facilities for users -£60,000
Extension of childcare facility and employment by Barra Childcare Partnership and Barra Pre School of Centre Manager, two childminders and part time co ordinator to support and develop children's services in Barra -£35,000
East Ayrshire/Dalmellington/Catrine/New Cumnock
Multi-use games areas for young people-£50,000 per RSPA including maintenance and staff support
Support for Hospital Visiting Service including purchase of vehicle and running costs across the 3 RSPA£70,000
Additional Police Resources£25,000
Out of Hours Health Service provision£50,000
Argyll and Bute/Loch Eck and Goil
Advice Network and Online referral - formalise and strengthen the links between services for clients -£10,000
Community Transport. Community transport initiative that builds on and extends existing provision -£65,000
Extension of Healthy Communities Collaborative to identify risk factors for groups and individuals at risk from falls -£25,000
Argyll and Bute/Jura Islay North and Colonsay
Advice Network Online Referrals -£10,000
Fast Ferry Service -£40,000
Skills Development on Colonsay -£10,000
Children's Play Facilities -£10,000
Enhancements to service for Ferry Users on Jura -£10,000
Improved physical access and usability of Keills Village facilities including Village Hall -£20,000
Orkney/Sanday North Ronalsay and Stronsay
Stronsay Adult Education Programme to include training for employment -£20,000
Angus/Brechin West and South and North Esk
Demand Responsive Dial a Ride Transport Provision -£25,000
Neighbourhood Recycling Points -£25,000
Energy Effiiciency and Healthy Living - Saving Money and Protecting the Environment Programme -£25,000
Sports and Enhanced Play Facilities in the Community -£25,000
Top Play/Top Sport Programme equipment and staff support -£5,000
Youth Activities Programme revenue costs of providing outdoor activities including instructors hire of facilities equipment and travel -£10,000
Community Transport revenue costs of analysis of existing provision, survey of local employers and capital costs of publicity -£7,500
Neist Point Car Park and Directional Signs -£23,000
Community Capacity Building Skills Training -£4,000
Development Worker to deliver the local service targets -£26,000
Community Gym and Wildlife Garden -£5,000
Housebound library service -£3,000
Health and Lifestyle Programme -£9,000
Arts in the Community Programme -£4,000
Local Heritage Programme -£3,000
Highland /Tongue Farr and Brora
Community Transport capital expenditure on wheelchair accessible vehicle -£20,000
Capital expenditure on Community Building in Helmsdale -£20,000
Capital expenditure on processing equipment for community enterprise (Forestry) -£50,000
Capital Expenditure on equipment and facilities for Village Halls -£50,000
Capital expenditure on training equipement and resources surgeries and equipement in local healthcare -£40,000
Training for Childcare Providers -£20,000
South Ayrshire/Carrick and Carrick South
Improve support for those in need of care in rural areas through the development of a trained pool of community based carers -£44,000
Improve access to participation in sports and physical activity across the generations -£66,000
Improve access to learning opportunities that will improve employment prospects -£90,000
Dumfries and Galloway/Stewartry
Accessing the local environment five projects, capital and revenue, involving woodland and pathways to allow the community greater access and benefit from their local environment -£17,000
Improving Public Transport, purchase of a low floor mini bus - all other costs met by partners -£58,000
Improving local services seven locally identified community services -£25,000
Dumfries and Galloway/Canonbie and Lockerbie East
Community learning and development- family and adult learning activities -£10,000
Health improvement through sports and leisure -£15,000
Benefits Advice Service -£10,000
Transport Improvements -£20,000
Access to cultural activities -£15,000
Improved access recycling and community information points and car parks -£24,000
Increased access to play facilities -£4,000
Dumfries and Galloway/Langholm & Upper Eskdale; Moffat
Purchase of wheelchair accessible minibus for Moffat Water area -£34,000
Insurance for minibus for 1 year -£4,000
Expanding use of existing resource to increase service to Eskdalemuir (capital & revenue) -£7,000
Management committees. (capital & revenue) -£25,000
Infrastructure and capacity building of management committees (capital & revenue) -£30,000
Dumfries and Galloway/Criffel
Community Transport -£40,000
Environmental improvements -£10,000
Recycling facilities -£10,000
Improvements to community halls and opportunities for locally based services -£40,000
Dumfries and Galloway/Luce
Improving transport for members of the communities in New Luce and Glentool -£20,000
Improving a range of facilities and services to allow people to access additional services or access current facilities -£70,000
Increased marketing and awareness raising of services/facilities -£10,000