EIGHTEEN projects aimed at tackling the problem of sectarianism have been awarded funding totalling more than £3 million, the Scottish Government has announced.
Sense Over Sectarianism, Place for Hope, the Scottish Book Trust and the Conforti Institute are among the organisations receiving a slice of the money.
The funding was allocated following what ministers described as a “robust assessment process” involving an independent expert group set up to look at sectarian issues.
In addition, a Small Grants Fund has been established to distribute £350,000 over the next two years to small-scale and one-off projects across Scotland.
Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “We are determined to create a Scotland which is not weighed down by the prejudices of the past.
“Today’s announcement backs up our commitment to a community-based approach to tackling sectarianism.
“We believe that the direct involvement of communities is central to making our communities safer places to live.
“It is significant that for the first time decisions about who should receive funding have been informed by the Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland, which has helped to set clear criteria and outcomes which all projects will need to meet to be eligible for funding.
“The group evaluated all of the projects which were funded last year to give us clear and decisive advice on the way forward.
“That advice told us that we needed to build on the community-based work delivered last year and make sure that all of our new projects will clearly deliver change for the communities they are working with.
“Funding community projects is part of a long-term strategy to deliver a fundamental culture shift within Scottish society to ensure sectarianism does not form the basis for any way of thinking or working.”
Ms Cunningham made the funding announcement in Glasgow as she met representatives from a range of organisations which have been awarded funding.
Dr Duncan Morrow, chair of the advisory group, said: “The 18 projects being announced today are a positive first step in the right direction and one that will help to improve the lives of many communities across Scotland.
“Tackling sectarianism is a long-term process and I fully recognise that there is still much to be done.
“As a group we look forward to engaging with these projects - and with those in future funding rounds - to look at the impact they are having and how we can build on this as part of a long-term approach to tackling the root causes of sectarianism in Scotland.”