COMMUNITY groups across Renfrewshire are being urged to apply for their share of a £1.5million fund before it is too late.

The Community Empowerment Fund is open to all groups which want to take over ownership and running of a building or piece or land in their area.

But applicants will need to act fast if they want a share of the cash, as the final deadline for applications is Wednesday, January 16.

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Designed to assist local people, the fund can help groups develop a business plan for the takeover of the asset, support the person or group to have the skills and capacity to manage and develop it and provide the upfront capital investment.

Councillor Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire’s communities, housing and planning policy board, said: “When a new year begins, people are always keen for new beginnings and full of ideas on how to make their lives better.

“So why not use this enthusiasm to get the project you want to develop off the ground?

“We recognise the wealth of knowledge local people have to make our towns and villages better places to live, work and visit and the Community Empowerment Fund offers the opportunity to bring these ideas to life.”

Previous projects which have been awarded funding and support include £10,000 for Active Communities to carry out a feasibility study on the conversion of the former Johnstone Police Station into a local health hub and £20,000 to assist in the relocation of the West End Growing Grounds Association to a site in Underwood Road, Paisley.

Another £10,000 award was handed to the Paisley Community Trust to develop a business case for the transformation of the former Arnotts building in the town centre into a cinema, arts venue and theatre.

Councillor McGurk added: “We’ve already seen some fantastic projects coming forward and receiving support which will help move them to the next level.

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“The fund really is an opportunity for local people to take a key role in improving their community and shaping its future success.”

Community groups and volunteers can also apply for the Green Spaces and Villages Investment Fund, which provides support to improve underused or neglected green spaces or take forward projects which will strengthen the character, identity and heritage of the local community.