GROUPS in Alloa have the opportunity to bid for small grants through a project that aims to strengthen and foster links.

They can seek funding to help with work carried out in the community and the maximum given will be £500.

In Alloa Matters, organised by Alloa Community Council, the public will select the successful initiatives during an event to be held next year.

Jennie Syme, chair of the community council, said: "I am delighted that we have secured £4,000 to offer local groups the chance of bidding for a small grant to help their organisation in the Alloa community.

"This is a real opportunity for the people of Alloa to have a say on which projects should benefit from this.

"An event will be held at Alloa Town Hall on Saturday 20 January 2018 to allow the general public to hear all about the prospective project, talk to the people involved and then vote on their favourite.

"We have kept the application process as simple as possible so that any applicable group in the boundaries of Alloa Community Council can apply and I look forward to be involved in this process."

Alloa Matters follows on from Community Matters which ran at the end of 2016, into 2017.

One of the beneficiaries of this was Alloa Academy, after the parent council submitted an application.

The school had been without its own mini bus for more than a year which was leading to missed opportunities, or funds were needed to hire transport.

Thanks to a winning bid and support from the local community, the school received £5000 and now has its own vehicle.

Maureen McCaster, chair of Alloa Academy Parent Council, said the Alloa Matters funding is a great idea.

She added: "We used this money, along with fundraising from the parent council, to enter into a wheelchair accessible mini bus leasing agreement.

"This provides the best use of the award and the school are reaping the benefits.

"Six members of staff are now trained to drive the mini bus and it has been used for field trips, sport activities and theatre trips.

"This opens up opportunities many might otherwise not experience."

To be eligible, groups should be based with the Alloa Community Council area, be non-profit making and able to send a representative to the Alloa Matters event.

They need to spend the money by Saturday, March 31, 2018 and to provide material for the community council website on what they project is about.

The should be non-political and will be required to help with publicity showing how the money was used.

Applications are open and can be handed in to the Speirs Centre, a member of the community or Kilncraigs – closing date Friday, November 17.

The community council can only offer limited support with the application, for more visit