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Moray communities benefit from Covid-19 recovery fund

By Lorna Thompson

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COMMUNITIES in Moray have received a share of cash to help town centres recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Moray will see £14,500 from the Towns and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Resilience and Recovery Fund, financed by the Scottish Government and administered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership.

Schemes covering Elgin, Buckie, Forres, Keith, Cullen and Dufftown will benefit from the payout.

These include £6500 for a Moray Chamber of Commerce consumer confidence campaign covering Elgin, Buckie, Forres and Keith; Cullen Voluntary Tourist Association, which was awarded £5000 for PPE, covered street furniture and to update its website; and Dufftown and District Community Association, which has received £3000 to set up a website combining village assets, local groups and businesses.

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: "Businesses in our town centres are showing remarkable resilience and innovation in how they are responding to the consequences of Covid-19 to best serve their customers and communities.

"From rapidly accelerating their online offerings to moving quickly to ensure that safeguards are in place to ensure that staff can work safely and customers shop responsibly, their work is playing an important part in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. The impact they are having should not be underestimated."

Nationally, 73 projects are being supported – 24 in full and 49 in part – covering 188 towns. Money has been granted to organisations including local authorities and community business groups.

Scotland’s Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell MSP, said: "Living more of our lives locally – shopping, eating and enjoying activities in the areas we live – has never been more important. It has a huge role to play in supporting Scotland’s economic and social recovery from Covid-19.

"Taking simple steps like choosing to visit a nearby shop or café, or buying goods or services from a business in your own community helps support local jobs. These actions help local economies to thrive, bring communities together and, crucially, help us to continue to suppress the virus by limiting unnecessary travel."

The fund totals £2 million and while half of this has been used towards the current wave of grants, £700,000 will provide support to business improvement districts when current BIDs Resilience funding expires. The remainder of the money includes support for the Scotland Loves Local campaign, urging shoppers to think local first.

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