Groups and projects in West Dunbartonshire can now apply for a new round of national funding to pay for community improvements.

The aim of the new £11.5 million Investing in Communities Fund is to tackle disadvantage, poverty and inequality.

Money made available could support out-of-school provision, provide activities and workshops, create a community café and improve job opportunities.

Grants of up to £250,000 are available over three years providing stability and recognising the need for longer term planning in some projects.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “We know that the best people to decide how to tackle local challenges are the people who live and work in the area.

“The introduction of this flexible, multi-year fund is the result of listening to the views of people in many different communities.

"It will enable community groups to make sustainable and impactful changes by providing them with the resources they need, when they need them.

“It will empower communities to have more control over of their own affairs and take forward more of the activities they have identified as being vital to their local area.”

The fund is open for applications from until June 14 with grant offers expected to start in September.

A key component of the new fund is the availability of multi-year awards for those who wish to apply for funding over more than 12 months.

Depending on the nature, scale and duration of any proposal, the minimum amount which can be applied for is £3,000 over a six month period, while the maximum is £250,000 over three consecutive years.