Funding community groups to deliver important services to their communities is an important part of the work the council does.

The way this was done in the past was through what was called the Integrated Grant Fund (IGF). For many years the IGF was effectively closed to new applications. The same organisations got funded in pretty much the same way year after year, without a lot of analysis of whether they were delivering or whether other projects were worth funding.

When the new SNP government took charge in May 2017 we pledged that we would reform the IGF and open it up to new applications and organisations. We believe that not only do we need to make sure that all community organisations can bid for funding, but that all organisations need to be able to demonstrate that they are delivering.

And so, the Communities Fund was born and it has now reached the stage where applications are in and assessments are being made.

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It would be fair to say this hasn’t all been plain sailing. Getting the rules agreed was not without controversy and, most recently, making sure all applications have been completed properly has proved more of a problem than we might have thought.

Deadlines have been extended and hopefully everything will work out for the best.

Are there lessons in all of this? The answer is yes, for everyone.

The biggest lesson is that change is unsettling, it can be disruptive and we don’t always cope with it particularly well, and by “we” I mean big organisations, even councils, as well as small community groups. Everyone has to adjust to new systems, and sometimes those new systems have to adjust to reality. Making those adjustments involves give and take, on all sides.

I’m confident that the new Communities Fund will settle down and in a year or two everyone will know how it works.