PEOPLE across the Borders are being given the chance to become owners of at-risk local pubs, theatres, post offices, sports grounds and corner shops thanks to the UK Government’s new £150 million Community Ownership Fund.

The move is part of the UK Government’s strategy to build back better from the pandemic by giving communities the power to save the local institutions that bring us together and foster a sense of community.

Details were published last week of how voluntary and community organisations across Scotland and the rest of the UK will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to buy or take over local assets and run them.

Up to £1 million will be available to establish sports clubs or help to buy sports grounds at risk without intervention – meaning a group of loyal supporters could become the Chairman and board at their beloved local team.

A total of £12.3 million has been set aside for community projects in Scotland, whether they be sporting and leisure facilities, cinemas and theatres, music venues, museums, galleries, parks, pubs, post office buildings and shops.

The Prime Minister unveiled more detail as part of a major speech setting out how the UK Government will continue to ‘level up’ all regions of the country as we bounce back from the pandemic.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Alongside the Levelling Up, Community Renewal and UK Shared Prosperity Funds, the Community Ownership Fund is part of a crucial package of UK Government investment to support communities.

“The funds will play an important role as we build back better from the pandemic. I encourage communities across Scotland to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities the Community Ownership Fund provides.”

The UK Government will undertake a series of information events with communities, the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) and local authorities in all parts of the UK.

The first bidding round closes on 13th August with another seven bidding rounds expected to take place over the next four years.