Community groups across North Ayrshire are set to benefit from over £100,000 funding thanks to the North Ayrshire Council Community Investment Fund (CIF).

Presented at Cabinet, council members have approved proposals for community groups in the Three Towns, Kilwinning and Garnock Valley Locality Partnerships.

A sum of nearly £18,000 has been granted to help the Ardrossan Castle Heritage Society to conduct a feasibility study, in order to develop a small community heritage hub on Ardrossan Castle Hill.

Amanda Simpson, Secretary at the Ardrossan Castle Heritage Society, said: “Thanks to the recent CIF funding, we are now in a position to move forward with the community hub feasibility study.

“The purpose of the hub will be to promote Ardrossan Castle as a positive tourist destination in North Ayrshire and provide an indoor and outdoor events space for education and learning activities related to the castle.

“Over the next month, we’ll be connecting with Ardrossan residents via our social media channels and our locality partners to get more local people involved in this fantastic project. We’re so excited about the opportunity the project brings and can’t wait to get started.”

Meanwhile in Kilwinning, more than £41,000 has been granted to the Kilwinning Rangers Youth Group to create a multi-purpose youth and community hub.

Put forward by the Kilwinning Locality Partnership, the funds were approved by Cabinet to help the community group to convert a recently donated portacabin currently situated at the Kilwinning Community Sports Club base.

Colin Boyd, Chairman of Kilwinning Rangers, said: “The Club is delighted to have received funding for our youth groups facilities via the Community Investment Fund.

“We plan to build a flexible 433 square metre community space. Large and fully accessible, the multifunctional space will be created through the removal of dividing walls in order to create a dedicated Youth Zone and construction of toilet facilities. The much-needed additional youth space will help us to address capacity issues for youth groups and other activities in the main clubhouse building.

“The funding boost is an exciting step forward in our efforts to provide a more varied programme of events for Kilwinning Rangers youth groups and we are grateful for North Ayrshire Council and the Kilwinning Locality Partnership’s continued support.”

And finally, the Garnock Valley Locality Partnership has secured a £43,500 grant for the Beith Community Development Trust.

The funds will be used to towards the employment of a Youth Lead Coordinator over the next three years.

Claire McWilliams, Community Development Manager at Beith Community Development Trust said: “We are thrilled to have this post to help deliver a brand new programme in the Garnock Valley for young people.

“The successful post holder will work with young people to help them become leaders in their community by gaining qualifications in sport, art and hospitality and using this knowledge to volunteer in clubs, activities and community events throughout the area.

“It’s a joint effort between Active Schools, Garnock Campus, North Ayrshire Youth Service and Dalry Sports Club and we look forward to working together with the Garnock Valley Locality Partnership to show everyone how wonderful and talented young people are in the Garnock Valley.”

Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Communities said: “We are delighted to support the recent funding applications for Ardrossan Heritage Society, the youth groups at Kilwinning Rangers and the Beith Development Trust.”

“Each of the community groups are providing creative approaches to addressing local challenges, developing exciting community spaces and engaging initiatives to encourage collaboration, reduce social isolation and put the outstanding efforts of their local communities on the map.

“The Community Investment Fund is a key component in the Council’s Fair for All Strategy and alongside the great work of our Locality Partnerships, it provides us with a brilliant opportunity to find out what matters most to people in our communities and allow us to fairly allocate funds accordingly.”

Shared across the six localities – Arran, Garnock Valley, Irvine, Kilwinning, North Coast and Three Towns – the Community Investment Fund has been created to help each Locality Partnership to identify and invest in key local priorities to develop stronger communities.