Projects and community organisations which could help to aid recovery from substance addiction and prevent drug-related deaths across North Ayrshire are being offered the chance to bid for grants between £8k and £10k as part of a new scheme organised by North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, with communities having the final say on who will receive the funding.

The event was announced at the North Ayrshire Summit on Drugs Related Deaths at Saltcoats Town Hall on Tuesday, January 21, which was organised after a motion by Councillor Louise McPhater to declare a drugs death emergency was passed by North Ayrshire Council in September of last year.

North Ayrshire has experienced an unprecedented rise in drugs deaths, in line with the trend across Scotland, with 38 confirmed drug related deaths recorded in 2018. The number of deaths is expected to be higher still for 2019.

‘The Substance of Our Communities’ is the latest in a series of participatory budgeting events, allowing members of the public to decide which of the bids they think most deserve the funding.

A decision day event is planned for Saturday, April 18 at Ardrossan Civic Hall, where anyone who lives, work or volunteers in North Ayrshire can go along, hear all about the projects then vote for their favourites.

Online voting will also be available, with details to be announced soon.

A series of drop-in sessions will be held at the following locations where you can pick up an application form and receive further information and guidance on how to apply for funding:

  • Tuesday, January 28: Fullarton Connexions, Church Street, Irvine (5pm to 6.30pm)
  • Wednesday, January 29: Turning Point Scotland, Glebe Street, Stevenston (1pm to 3pm)
  • Friday, February 7: The Living Room, Aitken Street, Largs (1pm to 3pm)
  • Monday, February 10: Kilwinning Sports Club, Pennyburn Road, Kilwinning (1pm to 3pm)
  • Monday, February 17: Volunteer Rooms, Irvine (1pm to 3pm)
  • Friday, February 21: Bridgend Community Centre, Bridgend, Kilbirnie (5pm to 7pm)

Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We hope that this exercise will bring communities together and start conversations on what else can be done to help prevent drug-related deaths.

“Each and every death caused by drugs is a tragedy, with the impact felt deeply by the families who have lost a loved one.

“It is crucial that people fighting addictions feel accepted and supported in society while on their journey to wellness. There are many charities, projects and community organisations out there doing fantastic work, and this funding could go a long way to helping them to reach more people and provide hope.

“We all have a part to play in preventing drug deaths, and it’s time to come together as communities to help fight this.”

Application forms for the participatory budgeting event are available by email from ADP@north-ayrshire.gov.uk, or click here to find out if your project meets the application criteria and to apply online.

The deadline for applications is at midnight on Sunday, March 22.

A total of £60k will be awarded as part of the event.