HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds is set to be made available to Renfrewshire’s villages as part of the council budget.

Council chiefs told The Gazette they are proposing that £370,000 is made available to residents through the new Villages Investment Fund, which will be set aside exclusively for improvements to villages.

The cash will support community-led projects where council resources can provide match funding in support of other sources of grant and income.

The SNP administration will also be proposing putting £1.5million into the Community Empowerment Fund, which villages can also access.

It will provide upfront investment in facilities which can be transferred to community use and ownership.

Councillor Iain Nicolson, council leader, said: “We’re going to focus heavily on villages. We’ve committed quite a lot of resources to supporting the Community Empowerment Act, which will help support community groups with regards to wanting to asset transfer buildings.

“We’ve also got the Village Investment Fund, which will support villages specifically. It’s something you can apply for if there’s something needing attending to that you would specifically find in a village.

“But they can also apply for Local Area Committee funding, so there’s quite a lot there.”

Councillors will also vote on proposals to inject £1.5m into play parks and green spaces.

And Cllr Nicolson said he was keen to emphasise the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund created for the Paisley UK City of Culture bid was still available to projects across Renfrewshire.

He added: “The funding we had for a lot of cultural events is still there and any organisation in Renfrewshire can apply for that. It’s not specific to Paisley.

“The funds we are putting in place don’t preclude any organisation – whether they live in Lochwinnoch or in Glenburn.

“We want to encourage more cultural events and see these taking place in places all over Renfrewshire.”