£10m Scotland Loves Local Fund launched in Milngavie

Thursday, 12 August, 2021

Success of local business groups highlighted as Minister announces major new scheme to support the transformation of towns and neighbourhoods...

A Scottish Government Minister has heard how hundreds of Dunbartonshire businesses have benefitted from a major drive urging people to love local.

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur was briefed on high-profile work locally, as he launched the new £10m Scotland Loves Local Fund [opens in a new window] in Milngavie.

He met representatives of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce [opens in a new window], Milngavie Business Improvement District (BID) [opens in a new window] and independent business owners to hear about the steps they have taken to encourage people to “choose local” and back enterprises in their community.

People and businesses across East and West Dunbartonshire have been powerful advocates of the Scotland Loves Local campaign since its launch last summer.

The Chamber – covering projects in Alexandria and The Vale of Leven, Bearsden, Dumbarton, Clydebank and Bishopbriggs – and the BID in Milngavie have been key drivers. Both organisations have extensively used “loves local” branding in their communities.

Some of that work was supported by grants from an initial Scotland Loves Local Fund last year; the success of which is being built upon with the new multi-million pound, multi-year programme from the Scottish Government announced today.

Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Damon Scott, was among those to meet Mr Arthur.

He said: “The Loves Local campaign has been helping hundreds of Dunbartonshire businesses by encouraging local people to shop local, think local and support our local enterprises.

 “Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce is delighted to have instigated and led an integrated campaign across five towns [opens in a new window], and Balloch [opens in a new window] to promote the ‘Choose Local’ message.

“In practical terms each place now has a website with a business directory supported by social media, PR and advertising. A range of branded materials and 100,000 Loves Local flyers have been distributed door-to-door, and in the town centres. This activity has helped to further promote some of the wonderful local businesses we have registered with us.”

The Chamber has worked with East and West Dunbartonshire Councils and Business Gateways, as well as in collaboration with Milngavie BID.

Wendy Ross, owner of Driftwood Lifestyle and Ruby Red Gift [opens in a new window] on Main Street, is a Director of Milngavie BID and was one of the faces of Scotland Loves Local’s launch last year.

She said: “The Scotland Loves Local campaign was a massive help to Milngavie, especially at the peak of the pandemic when non-essential retail businesses were forced to close.

“Using the digital experience of our BID place manager and his network of collaborators [opens in a new window], the Loves Local funding was invested to build many e-commerce websites very quickly so we could continue to trade online, with click and collect and deliveries.

“This was a critical help for local businesses and really opened our eyes to aspects of the digital world that we knew little about. Using the Loves Local messaging and excellent #ThinkLocalFirst campaign, we used social media and Milngavie.co.uk [opens in a new window] to reach local people. That really struck home and continues to do so.”

During his visit to Milngavie, Mr Arthur also saw work underway to enhance the area around the entrance [opens in a new window] to the West Highland Way, as well as hearing of work which has taken place during the pandemic at Honeybee Bakery [opens in a new window] on Station Road and Creature Comforts [opens in a new window] on Mugdock Road.

The new Scotland Loves Local Fund will provide match funding of between £5,000 and £25,000 for projects run by groups such as town centre partnerships, chambers of commerce, community and charity trusts.

Administered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) it aims to bring new, suitable, creative projects and activity to towns and neighbourhoods – helping build local wealth and increase footfall and activity, while supporting local enterprise partnerships. Eligible projects could include community shops, marketing and digital schemes, or enabling larger construction project delivery.

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur said: “To support Scotland’s towns and neighbourhoods recover from the pandemic we are launching a new £10 million Scotland Loves Local Fund. This will provide 50% match funding for local projects between £5,000 and £25,000.

“Whether it be funding for small-scale improvements or adaptations, climate or active travel programmes, home delivery digital schemes, pop up shops and markets, or the direct funding or expansion of Scotland Loves Local loyalty card schemes – communities will be able to decide how best to improve their local area.

“This 100 day commitment of the Scottish Government reinforces our determination to support all of Scotland’s communities recover from the pandemic and will help strengthen the vital support being provided through the Scotland Loves Local marketing campaign and loyalty card scheme.”

Applications for grants are open from now until Friday 1st October. A total of £2 million-worth of grants will be available this financial year.

Scotland Loves Local is spearheaded by STP with support from the Scottish Government.

Phil Prentice, STP’s Chief Officer, said: “The way in which the whole of Dunbartonshire has embraced the Scotland Loves Local campaign has been phenomenal. I am delighted that we have been able to share some of this great work, which has made a real difference, with the Minister.

“The new Scotland Loves Local Fund will allow us to take the activity such as that we have seen in Dunbartonshire to another level; empowering communities to take action that will make their areas fairer, greener and more successful. We are delighted to be working with ministers to deliver this.

“I would encourage organisations which may fit the bill in East and West Dunbartonshire to get their applications in.”

Councillor Vaughan Moody, Joint Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The new Scotland Loves Local funding will hopefully help to inspire and facilitate a range of wonderful projects in East Dunbartonshire. These grants could prove vital as town centres such as Milngavie, Bearsden, Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch continue their journeys towards recovery, following unprecedented challenges.

“I would encourage eligible groups to bid for funding before the deadline – 1st October – and look forward to hearing more about the applications received. In the meantime, we will continue to support the fantastic efforts of local communities, businesses and organisations – working with a range of partners.”

Councillor Andrew Polson, Joint Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, added: “Great work is currently taking place in Milngavie, where the Council has helped to secure funding of £340,000 towards efforts to build on the town’s reputation as a walking and cycling hub – tying in with the West Highland Way and other local routes. The project is being led by Milngavie BID, which is continuing to fly the flag for the town centre and East Dunbartonshire.

“We’re committed to all our town and village centres, including Bishopbriggs – which is the subject of the Council’s £34.88 million City Deal Place and Growth Programme, approved last year by the Glasgow City Region Cabinet. I hope a range of groups apply for this new funding and would urge them to find out more.”

More details about the Scotland Loves Local campaign and how to apply to the new fund, can be found on the Scotland Loves Local website [opens in a new window].