More than £800,000 is to be handed out to community groups in Dundee to help tackle poverty and social inequalities.
This money will be split across each of the eight council wards in the city, and will be used by community groups within each ward to make physical improvements, run youth inclusion activities, and to be given to local residents as small grants.
Over the next year £174,000 will be spent in the East End, £167,000 in Lochee, £160,000 in Coldside, £129,000 in the North East, £103,000 in Strathmartine, and £60,000 in Maryfield.
However a last minute decision was taken to increase the spending in both Broughty Ferry and the West End from £10,000 to £20,000 each.
Councillor Kevin Cordell, who represents the Ferry at Dundee City Council, brought forward an amendment at Monday evening’s meeting to call for the change in funding allocation.
He said: “These grants go to local community groups and decision making at that level is very welcome and what we want to see.
“Those may be small amounts of money, but it can do disproportionate amounts of good.
“In Broughty Ferry this money goes to groups such as the first responders and tenants’ associations and it is appreciated by those groups.”
Councillor Fraser Macpherson, who represents the West End, had also planned to bring forward an amendment calling for the funding allocation in the two wards to be increased, but agreed to drop this in favour of Councillor Cordell’s amendment.
Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Richard McCready said it was important to note the funding was allocated based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, which can be slightly out of date.
He said: “I think it is important we recognise there is a need for this investment in the Ferry.
“The regeneration funding is based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and there is a time lag there.
“Most of us predict the coronavirus pandemic will have negatively impacted on a number of communities in the city and the reality is the pandemic as demonstrated greater levels of inequalities in the city.
“It is clear to people these inequalities might get worse, particularly once the supports that are there at the moment disappear.
“It is important officers keep a close eye on inequalities and the need for regeneration funding in the city because relying on historical data might mean we have a scenario where we are not reflecting the reality on the ground.
“It is important we use all efforts we can to deal with poverty and inequalities in the city and make sure we reflect any impact Covid-19 might have on that – and I think it is likely to be severe.”
However Councillor Gregor Murray disagreed, saying it was not wise to use contingency funding to increase regeneration funding in the Ferry and the West End.
They said: “I don’t think I back this amendment.
“I think it is a bit tone-deaf to use contingency [funds] in the two most well-off wards in the name of community regeneration.
“Our contingency [funds] are already quite stretched and Audit Scotland keeps telling us we don’t have enough and we need contingency funds for the future.
“Using this money in the two most well-off wards smacks of pork barrel spending rather than any council commitment or aim we should be going for right now.”
Council leader John Alexander said he respected the difference in opinion, however no one seconded Councillor Murray’s point and therefore the amendment to increase funding in the Ferry and the West End was agreed.
In the first two months of 2021, a number of community groups in Dundee have benefitted from regeneration funding, including Douglas Fruit and Veg, The Haven, Broughty Ferry in Bloom, Menzieshill Connect Youth, Dundee City Centre and Harbour Community Council, Fintry Parish Church, The Attic and Abertay Historical Association.