Community groups interested in taking on the running of their local halls and centres were offered more support by councillors today.
As part of its budget this year Moray Council offered all its town halls and community centres up for transfer to local groups to run themselves.
The process, called Community Asset Transfer (CAT), has attracted significant interest from groups since the February budget meeting, and there were fears that council staff would not be able to complete the process by the June 30th deadline set by councillors.
At a meeting of the full Council, Members agreed that the council would underwrite the operating costs of the venues (heating, lighting, business rates, etc, subject to a maximum of 50% of the savings identified in the budget for each facility) for up to six months to allow groups to develop their full CAT application.
Leader of Moray Council, Cllr George Alexander, said he was delighted that so many groups were keen to take on their local halls.
“I see this surge of interest as a success,” he said.
“During our consultation on the budget we asked the public what they could do for themselves, and this is a shining example of community becoming empowered to run their own facilities.
“We will be taking on an extra person to help deal with the number of CAT applications, as each one will be treated on its merits and require officer time to formulate their application.
“We are happy to put into this process the extra resources to ensure local communities achieve their ambition of running their own halls.”
Groups will have to enter into a rent-free lease for the property pending a successful CAT application. There are currently expressions of interest at various stages of progress for 20 halls and community centres.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.