GROUPS in Craven received just £2,000 last year of a £130,000 council fund aimed at supporting grass-roots community projects in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Council’s stronger communities team was set up following the government’s austerity programme which saw swingeing cuts to non-essential council services.

The team attempts to plug holes by supporting volunteer-led “local solutions” to services that the council can no longer afford to provide, such as some libraries and support for young people and families.

In 2023/24, the stronger communities team awarded grants to 137 groups or projects which it said help to promote health and wellbeing across the county.

Each of the seven former district council areas in North Yorkshire received funding with Scarborough receiving the most at £47,000 which went towards 48 different projects.

Every other area also received funding including Harrogate (£20,000), Ryedale (£19,000), Selby, (£15,000), Richmondshire (£15,000) and Hambleton (£12,000) But Craven received the lowest amount by far with only three projects awarded funding, making up just two per cent of what was handed out across North Yorkshire.

There was controversy last year when a separate £850,000 community fund that was earmarked for local groups by Craven District Council was handed over to North Yorkshire Council rather than being spent in the area.

Cllr Andy Solloway (Independent, Skipton West & West Craven) told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he was disappointed Craven received such a small slice of the cake.

He said: “I am disappointed that Craven area seems to have not been allocated a similar share to other areas, levelling up works down at local level as well as regional. These are delegated decisions that we councillors have little say in apart from after the allocations. Craven District Council passed over a lot of their reserves to North Yorkshire Council too.”

In a statement, the council said it works with groups to ensure its stronger communities’ investments are coordinated.

It added that, unlike other areas in North Yorkshire, Craven benefits from a Bradford district health fund.

North Yorkshire Council’s head of localities, Marie-Ann Jackson, said: “The Stronger Communities Inspire Fund is one of several small-scale grant programmes available to voluntary and community groups in Craven.

“We work with partners to ensure that our collective investment is coordinated, and that organisations we are working with are applying for the most appropriate funding available to them.

“Craven also benefits from Bradford District Health Care Partnership investment via the Community Health Partnership. This delivers an annual grants fund for health and well-being schemes and has supported £10,000 worth of projects in the last year.”