Scottish Executive hands out millions to voluntary projects

ANNIE KELLY

The Scottish Executive is to pour millions of pounds into voluntary organisations and volunteer projects over the next three years.

Grants totalling £2.3 million will be awarded to 34 voluntary organisations and projects tackling research, education and training. Of this amount, £1 million will go to homelessness groups.

One of the major beneficiaries of the funding will be the Scottish Homelessness Advisory Service. It will receive £400,000, which it will use to support Shelter Scotland and the Citizens Advice Bureaux.

Iain Gray, social justice minister, said: "The funding is shared between a wide range of bodies that reflect core concerns of the Executive, such as tackling homelessness, addressing domestic violence, reinforcing community care and engaging more fully with the tenants' movement in Scotland."

In a separate round of funding, £925,000 has been set aside for new volunteer projects to promote the executive's Active Communities Initiative. Money will be ploughed into two projects, boosting the overall funding for the Active Communities Initiative to more than £2 million in 2002-3.

The Unemployed Voluntary Action Fund will receive £750,000 over three years to administer a scheme called Valuing Volunteers, which provides small grants of £500 to community projects.

The Scottish Association of Volunteer Managers will also receive £175,000 from the Active Community Initiative over three years to help and train managers from a range of voluntary organisations.

"In the past year, the Executive has provided over £1.65 million in direct funding of projects that promote the Active Communities Initiative. These projects include volunteering by older people, housebound people, people from ethnic minorities and young people in rural areas,

said Gray.

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