A new opportunity for rural communities across Ayrshire

Ayrshire 21 Group Photo

SCDC is supporting a new collaborative initiative launched today on 15 May 2-13 in Ayr, which is aimed at providing targeted help, support and funding for rural areas across the three Ayrshire areas.

Ayrshire 21 will work with 21 local communities which have been least able to take advantage of development and funding opportunities in the past.

The new initiative is the result of collaborative working between the three Ayrshire Councils, securing funding from the European LEADER project to create Ayrshire 21.

Working in partnership with local and Scotland-wide development organisations, Ayrshire 21 will support the communities to write community action plans that will help them build on the strengths they have and address the most important social and economic issues they face.

A joint statement issued by the three Council Leaders commented: "We're excited by the prospects offered by Ayrshire 21 which will offer a comprehensive support programme to our rural communities.

"Support will include training, learning exchanges, advice and practical help and will help our community organisations to become more effective, more influential and more confident in taking a lead over how their communities should develop and grow.

"We're confident the Ayrshire 21 model will offer the right help, at the right time and in the right way to our rural areas, offering them a brighter future in some challenging times ahead."

The 21 communities are as follows:

North Ayrshire: Beith, Dalry, Kilbirnie, Skelmorlie, Fairlie, Springside and Dreghorn in North Ayrshire;

East Ayrshire: The potential communities could include: New Cumnock, Mauchline, Fenwick, Newmilns, Patna, Auchinleck, Lugar & Logan, Darvel, Drongan/Rankinston, Sorn and Netherthird.

South Ayrshire: nine Community Councils covering 12 villages and towns are involved: Annbank & Coylton; Craigie; Crosshill, Kirkmichael & Straiton; Dundonald; Dunure; Loans; Maybole; Minishant; Symington

Speaking at the launch, Chris Savage, Chair of the Ayrshire LEADER Local Action Group said: "Since LEADER first launched in Ayrshire in 2008, it has been our aim that the fund will inspire, motivate and encourage communities to take the first steps on a road that will lead to real improvements in everyday living in their rural areas. 

"Today marks that first step being taken and I am delighted to see the launch of Ayrshire 21, an example of real collaborative working, coming to fruition."

The partner organisations are: Ayrshire LEADER, the three Ayrshire Councils, the NHS, Scottish Community Development Centre, Scotland's Rural College, STAR development group, Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Ailsa Horizons and Alan Jones Associates.