A COMMUNITY drug rehab project could still get financial help – after councillors backed away from a recommendation by officials that the scheme shouldn’t get a penny.

Alternatives, which has offices in Dumbarton and Clydebank, helps people across West Dunbartonshire with a substance dependency find work and integrate into the community.

The initiative sought applied for financial support of £50,000 from the Dumbarton Common Good Fund to help with the cost of its two social enterprises – a café, which they hope to expand, and a 15.5 acre site they plan develop into a mixture of a safe and therapeutic work placement opportunities, in horticulture and in wildlife habitat work and a nice place to be to improve clients’ health and wellbeing.

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But in a report prepared for West Dunbartonshire Council’s corporate services committee last week, authority officials said that Alternatives had cash reserves of almost £650,000 and so shouldn’t receive anything from the Dumbarton Common Good Fund.

Council leader, Jonathan McColl, said: “When we first received these papers, we were informed that Alternatives wouldn’t be able to use their reserves – yet officers still recommend refusal of this application.

“I am just trying to get my head around this. We have a motion to continue this discussion.

“As we understand it, the health and social care partnership (HSCP) are looking at alternatives to deliver this project jointly.”

Chief executive Joyce White said the council would “continue to work in partnership” to do “what is right and best” for communities.

Labour opposition group leader Martin Rooney said: “I am really pleased to see this project because it is an area of West Dunbartonshire that needs some investment.“I think this is a really positive investment coming forward looking for match funding and we are normally quite supportive of that. I am pleased to see the leader of the council has got a motion to continue this.”

“I think this is a sensible approach to take because We have got a public consultation coming up and we want to hear what the wider community think about this project.

“We should all get behind helping vulnerable people and groups in West Dunbartonshire.”

Members agreed to continue the debate for a consultation and for the HSCP to work with Alternatives on suitable funding.