Community projects across the Borders have benefited from the first tranche of payments from Scottish Borders Council’s £500,000 Localities Bid Fund.
More than £200,000 was available during this first phase, with 62 applications making it to the voting stage.
Almost 16,000 Borderers either voted online or in paper ballots across the five different areas – Berwickshire, Cheviot, Eildon, Teviot and Liddesdale and Tweeddale.
The group which attracted most funding was the Borders Search and Rescue Unit in the Cheviot area. It gained the full amount requested, £35,000, which will part-fund the building of a proper base for the team, so they can move from the garage they currently use.
A spokesman for the unit said: “The new base will house all team vehicles and equipment in one place and will give team volunteers much-needed space for training and during call-outs.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to all who took the time to vote for us.”
Councillor Sandy Aitchison, executive member for neighbourhoods and locality services, said: “This is the first time we’ve allocated funding like this and it was heartening to see so many people take part in the public vote.
“Local communities embraced the concept and I think they appreciated the opportunity to directly influence where public money is being spent.
“Running a funding scheme in this way presented us with a huge task.
“While I believe it has been very successful, we will be looking at how everything has worked and take on board any feedback before fine-tuning the process for the next round of funding.”
Details of the second phase of funding will be announced soon. The projects that were not awarded grants this time will be offered further funding advice and guidance from the council to help them take their ideas and plans forward.
Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell said: “It is to the credit of Councillor Aitchison and council officers that they have taken this challenge up with gusto ... this is a fabulous example of participative democracy in action.
“Some of the results might be a surprise, but ultimately it is the public who have decided the winners.”
● Friends of Duns Primary School – £29,000
● Duns Amateur Swimming Club – £650
● Connect Berwickshire Youth Project – £6,000
● Duns & District Men’s Shed – £7,300
● Borders Search & Rescue Unit – £35,000
● Stow Parent Council – £5,000
● Rowland’s Selkirk (Food for Thought) – £6,809
● Stow Community Learning Hub – £15,000
● Earlston High School Parent Council – £24,000
● Rowland’s (Swap Shop) – £7,000
Teviot and Liddesdale:
● Newcastleton Polysport/Copshaw Cutters – £5,000
● Artbeat Studios – £3,500
● Escape Youth Services – £8,000
● Hawick Community Pump Track – £15,000
● Hawick Men’s Shed – £6,500
● Clovenfords Digital Ninja Community Project – £25,000
● Julie’s Kitchen Garden, Clovenfords – £4,600
● Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team – £400