COMMUNITY groups in Helensburgh and Lomond are being invited to apply for financial help from Argyll and Bute Council – but this year the public won’t be able to vote on which projects should receive support.

The latest round of the local authority’s Supporting Communities Fund is now open, and applications can be submitted until February.

Groups can apply for up to 100 per cent of the total funding costs for their project or activity, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Last year, as part of a ‘participatory budgeting’ pilot, members of the public were allowed to vote to decide which projects got money from the 2018-19 fund after Helensburgh and Lomond councillors whittled down the applications to a short-list of 21 – with 15 of those groups eventually receiving funding.

But this time round, the decision-making power will return to the councillors on Argyll and Bute’s four local area committees.

Among the successful applicants last year were the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, the ‘Meet and Eat’ lunch club in Kirkmichael, and the Rosneath Peninsula Highland Gathering.

But the decision to trial a public vote was criticised by some, with Lomond North councillor George Freeman complaining that projects in small villages were disadvantaged against the weight of numbers in many Helensburgh applications.

It’s also understood that the cost involved in the pilot scheme was a factor in deciding not to hold a public vote this time round.

Councillor Robin Currie, the council’s policy lead for communities, said: “There are a lot of excellent project ideas in our communities and I’m pleased that the council will once again be able to help some of those come to fruition through the Supporting Communities Fund.

“I’d encourage any community groups with fresh ideas to apply for funding."

Advice and support on funding is available from the council’s community development team, who can be contacted at 01436 657647 or by emailing

Application forms can be found online at fund and if you require a hard copy or further information or guidance, contact the team.

The decision to allow groups to apply for up to 100 per cent of their project’s funding is a further change from the process in previous years, while groups will also be able to submit applications electronically for the first time.

There is one round of funding applications and awards in the year. Applications that are agreed to have met the criteria will be scored, and recommendations made to the relevant area committee, for a decision to be taken in spring 2019.

The deadline for submission of completed applications is Wednesday, February 6, 2019.