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Reduction in funding for Aberdeenshire rural partnerships proposed


By Kyle Ritchie

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Councillors are being asked to approve the distribution of funding to the six rural partnerships in Aberdeenshire for the next three financial years.

The local authority's infrastructure services committee will assess the allocation at its online meeting on Thursday.

The rural partnerships have been providing advice and support services to third sector organisations within their areas since the 1990s.

Each of the partnerships has developed its own business and delivery model, with some being part of much wider area-based partnerships that deliver a range of voluntary services and access multiple funding streams.

The council annually allocates £33,900 to each partnership with £30,900 provided by the economic development service and £3000 from the respective area committees.

Councillors are being asked to approve funding for the partnerships for 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.

In the report that will go before the committee it was outlined that due to budget pressures the funding would be reduced each year.

It is proposed to allocate each partnership £22,500 in 2021-22; £15,000 in 2022-23 and £7500 in 2023-24.

This will be the final three-year tranche of rural partnership funding.

Funding is allocated to the rural partnerships in the six areas of Aberdeenshire.
Funding is allocated to the rural partnerships in the six areas of Aberdeenshire.

The report says: "Discussions at the most recent Community Economic Development Partners meeting included consideration of how to support the longer-term financial sustainability of the partnerships, recognising that the council faces significant financial pressures and challenges and would probably not be able to continue funding the partnerships at the current level in the medium to long-term.

"Officers from the economic development service will continue to support the six rural partnerships, where appropriate and required, to diversify their income streams and develop more sustainable delivery models over the three-year period covered by this grant proposal.

"Pressure on budgets means that the service must review the areas of activities that can be supported and reflect on the change of focus in response to Covid-19 and community resilience in the future."

The Formartine partnership's allocation will be subject to an improvement plan, with a new group having been formed to take on its work.



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