A new Community Investment Fund has been hailed as a first for Scotland by the leader of North Ayrshire Council.

The fund is a key component of the council’s Fair for All Strategy which is looking to alleviate poverty across the region.

At a cabinet meeting earlier this week, elected members agreed to introduce the approach which will devolve funds to Locality Planning Partnerships.

The fund – which will immediately have £2.6 million to be shared across the six localities - has been created to help the Locality Partnership model flourish by providing localities an opportunity to identify and invest in specific local priorities to develop stronger communities.

Partnerships will bring forward proposals based on their local priorities and ones which will make a real and tangible difference to the lives of people within the communities.

It is expected that the proposals will be game changers in relation to local issues or demands for services.

The approach is similar to one adopted in Belfast in 2012. The Local Investment Fund in Belfast helped establish new sports facilities, environmental improvements, training facilities, refurbishment works along with other valuable community amenities.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “The Community Investment Fund is a radical step for the council. “This is community empowerment in action, not just words.

“It gives meaningful power and resources to the Locality Partnerships, which are made up of local ward councillors and community representatives, to make a difference to their communities.

“I firmly believe that allowing local people the opportunity to shape projects and investment in their local areas can deliver positive outcomes.

“After all, it is people living in these communities who know them best.”

Who gets what (based on the population of each locality) Irvine - £754,000 (29 per cent) Kilwinning - £286,000 (11 per cent) Three Towns - £598,000 (23 per cent) Garnock Valley £390,000 (15 per cent) North Coast £468,000 (18 per cent) Arran£104,000 (4 per cent)