Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has urged community groups in the Western Isles to apply for a new £2 million fund to help local communities have a greater say in decision-making.

The Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund will allow community groups to organise participatory budgeting events. These events give communities the opportunity to make decisions on how and where investment is spent in their area.

Participatory budgeting is recognised internationally as a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local needs.

Alasdair Allan commented: “Every community in Scotland has different needs and challenges and the same is even true within the Western Isles. We want to see more decision-making handed to local people – especially in choosing local spending priorities.

“The new Community Choices Fund is a real opportunity for communities to vote on investment, shape services and address the issues that are important in their area.

“Last year participatory budgeting was used to design the delivery of non-statutory bus services across Uist and Barra with the local communities and was also used to discuss budgeting with young people in Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra.

“The SNP want to give communities more control to shape their futures – and I hope there is a range of ideas and applications from organisations across the Isles.”