LOCAL groups and individuals from Irvine are being given an opportunity to secure much-needed funds – with almost £40,000 up for grabs.

Irvine will be the latest locality taking part in the hugely-successful Participatory Budgeting events.

These events – first rolled out in 2016 – have already been hugely successful this year with dozens of groups receiving a funding boost at events in Kilwinning, the Three Towns and Garnock Valley.

Applicants are invited to bid for up to £1,500 from a total pot of £33,629.

Applications should demonstrate that funding would help improve at least one of the following in the Irvine area: promoting positive mental health and well-being, supporting and promoting employment and training and bringing people together in Irvine.

An additional £5,000 is available from North Ayrshire Green Health Partnership for bids of up to £1,000. Bids should help improve nature-based activities in the Irvine area (separate application available).

Applications open on April 3 and closing date for applications is 9am on May 11.

You can get applications forms by emailing participatorybudgeting@north-ayrshire.gov.uk or phoning 01294 604612.

Those who are on the shortlist will be invited to Decision Day at the Volunteer Rooms, on Saturday, June 2, from 10.30am-1pm, where they will make a bid for funding in a ‘marketplace’ format.

Local residents are invited to the event to decide which projects to fund. Voting is open to anyone aged eight and over who lives, works or volunteers in the area.

Councillor Louise McPhater, cabinet member for communities, said: “Participatory Budgeting is community empowerment and local democracy at its finest with lots of groups gaining some much-needed funds.

“Local people know their communities better than anyone else. They have been involved in designing the PB process via the Locality Planning Partnerships.

“We welcome applications and will deal with each individually and on its own merits.”

Further information is available at www.northayrshire.community