£25,000 Coalfields cash for Bo’ness and Blackness

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A WINDFALL of £25,000 for small-scale Bo’ness and Blackness community improvement projects has been awarded by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT).

The public will help determine where the cash goes, via a massive public survey, and a vote at Bo’ness Town Hall in February.

It will be dispersed by the end of next March and is targeted towards ‘small, soon, seen and successful’ ideas.

New umbrella group Bo’net (Bo’ness Networking Group) secured Bo’ness and Blackness one of just five Scottish spots on the Coalfields Community Futures Programme 2012/13.

They are the only Forth Valley participants.

Youth football equipment, heritage maps, a community website and summer playscheme are examples of funded projects in communities who took part last year.

During October, 1000 Bo’ness households, plus all Blackness homes, will get a paper survey form, produced with Falkirk Council help.

With as many replies wanted as possible, everyone can complete the Bo’ness survey online until October 26.

Visits will also be paid to at least 20 stakeholder groups, from pensioners to youths, to canvas views.

Both small-scale and larger project ideas are being asked for, as the results will help form a five-year community action plan for 2013-18.

Some of the survey findings may be published by CRT’s delivery partners, the Star Development Group, prior to February’s public meeting.

At this, people will have a chance to vote for their priority projects and actions.

This will be the basis for allocating the £25,000 seedcorn funding for projects which fit with these priorities.

Going forward, Bo’net and partners can then help in making funding applications for longer-term initiatives.

Nicky Wilson, the CRT’s Scottish trustee and vice chairman, said: “We are delighted that Bo’ness and Blackness are joining the Coalfields Community Futures programme.

“This area has always displayed the strong community focus which is so typical of former mining communities.

“The Coalfields Community Futures programme is an exciting concept because it puts local people at its very heart and lets them decide which projects will most improve the area, and vote for the ones they want to fund.

“It really is local democracy at its very best.”

Bo’net’s representatives range from Bo’ness Community Council and the Friends of Kinneil, to the Upper Forth Boat Club and the Forth Bridges Accordian Band.

Chairwoman Madelene Hunt said: “Bo’net is delighted to have received funding and support for a Bo’ness and Blackness Project which will be decided by the residents of Bo’ness and Blackness.

“The group has only been constituted since April and I think we are off to a flying start - thanks to a small keen group of active members.

“By participating in this survey you can be assured your views will be taken on board.

“Even if you don’t get funding from this project we may be able to help you source funding from other sources.

“We all want the best for our community and every resident of Bo’ness and Blackness can play their part by letting us know what they want by filling in the short survey, only five questions.

“If you want a chance of winning a £50 Tesco Voucher please add your name and address.”

*Complete the survey online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/BONESSVIEWS