The payment of household grants is being reviewed by LCT in light of concerns raised.

As you are aware for the last 3 years LCT has paid out a grant to the Garve and District Community Energy Group who in turn have paid it to those households within the community who have applied for it in the form of an energy grant.

Information has been obtained from another Community Benefit Fund, where they have been informed by Foundation Scotland, that the payment of an energy grant, available to all households, is contrary to OSCR guidelines relating to charitable activity and any grant paid must be in furtherance of a charitable purpose and for public benefit.  Following the receipt of this information a concern has been raised as to whether the GDCE energy grant fits within the OSCR guidelines and the LCT permitted purposes as defined by the developers within the windfarm agreements. 

LCT has sought legal advice from Alpin Stewart of Munro and Noble regarding the grant, who has provided the following advice:

LCT should be satisfying itself that the Community Energy Group have a scheme which targets grants to those in need, whether from poverty or illness or some other reason. Funding the Community Energy Group to provide an untargeted scheme could be criticised for the reasons suggested by Foundation Scotland. If the current scheme is not means tested in any way, it may be necessary to revisit it.

As the scheme is open to all households within the Garve and District Community Council area and is not targeted LCT is also seeking advice from OSCR regarding the payment of the energy grant and any other grants that would be of a similar nature to ascertain whether they fulfil the necessary criteria.

Please be assured that LCT will review the situation once further information is received from OSCR but it may be that an alternative process may need to be implemented to enable the grant to be paid to those who need it rather than being available to all households.

The LCT Board appreciates that the grant has been popular amongst the community, particularly for its equitable status with every household being able to apply but we hope you understand it is imperative that LCT pays out grants that fulfil the charitable objectives of OSCR.

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