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Link Up receives lottery funding to support a new kind of community activism in two Scottish communities

Link Up receives lottery funding to support a new kind of community activism in two Scottish communities

Link Up, Inspiring Scotland’s pioneering community project led by local people, has been awarded funding from Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Supporting Great Ideas Fund to help combat long-term poverty and disadvantage.

The £296,452 award will support Link Up in the Whitfield area of Dundee and Saltcoats in North Ayrshire to support more local people to become community activists and develop solutions to the long-term challenges faced by their community.

Currently active in nine communities across Scotland, Link Up helps local people establish social groups in anything from peer-led recovery cafes to cycle clubs to weekly knitting groups, giving local people the confidence and self-belief to influence positive change for themselves and increasingly, their community.

The Supporting Great Ideas funding will be used to support local people in each area who have emerged as potential leaders, developing their knowledge and skills, so they are able to play a direct role in local decision-making structures and to work with local organisations to develop responses to the issues which matter to residents.

Andrew Magowan, Link Up Programme Manager at Inspiring Scotland, said: “This funding will be used to develop a new kind of community activism; one that is led by the local people who are so often the least heard and one that empowers them to tackle the issues that really matter for their community.

“From our experience in areas across Scotland, we know that the ingredients for change already lie in our communities in the shape of the passion, skills, knowledge and interests of local people. We want to help people use these strengths and prove that change driven by the voices and actions of local people can deliver material reductions in poverty and disadvantage.”  

The funding will be spread over three years and is in addition to investment from Scottish Government, funding from the Rank Foundation in Whitfield and North Ayrshire Council in Saltcoats. After three years, Inspiring Scotland hopes to expand the approach into other areas.

Andrew Magowan added: “We see this as the beginning of a new way of working in which more local leaders are equipped with the confidence and skills to champion their community’s interests and a new culture emerges in which local people and local services put trust in each other and work together to do what’s best for their area.”

Audrey Sutton, Head of Service (Connected Communities) at North Ayrshire Council, said: “North Ayrshire is delighted to be involved in the next step of the Link Up journey in Saltcoats. The first phase of the project has allowed strong partnerships to evolve between the Council and partners and Inspiring Scotland, and more importantly, with the Saltcoats community. The benefits are already clear – more people are engaged in community activities and this next stage will result in enriching and deepening involvement and commitment to community-led projects and new ways of working.

“We are very grateful that Saltcoats is benefiting from this investment, we look forward to working together with Inspiring Scotland to make the most of the opportunities it brings.”

Mike Welsh, Dundee City Council Communities Officer, said: “Link up has, through working closely with the community and partners, made a significant impact in the Whitfield area. This new funding is welcomed and will allow this strong partnership to develop to support initiatives that build on the interests and strengths of residents.”

Maureen McGinn, Scotland Chair Big Lottery Fund, said, “We are delighted to have been able to support this innovative project with money raised thanks to National Lottery players. Working in Dundee and North Ayrshire, Link Up will support local people to have their voices heard and get involved in activities that bring real improvements to their communities and the wellbeing of the people who live there. The commitment of local organisations and local people driving forward inclusive community engagement offers a great foundation to build strong, vibrant communities.”

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