A £25MILLION fund to help kick-start community regeneration schemes in deprived areas was launched in Glasgow.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed the plan during a visit to Govan Work-space, a project to transform the old office building of Fairfields shipyard.

The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund is a joint initiative between the Scottish Govern-ment and Cosla and is open to council and regeneration companies to apply to for help in getting large projects off the ground.

Programmes which are sustainable long term and which could, for example, transform derelict land or disused buildings in areas of high deprivation and social disadvantage, either urban or rural, will be prioritised to receive cash from the fund.

Ms Sturgeon said the successful projects will need to satisfy criteria that show the community has been involved in their development.

She said: "Investment in large-scale regeneration projects is absolutely key for stimulating economic growth throughout Scotland.

"Community involvement is integral to the success of the design and delivery of local economic and social regeneration initiatives.

"The development of this fund is a great example of how Scotland's public bodies can work in partnership to deliver initiatives that help to create more jobs for Scottish people, while bringing communities closer together and injecting new life into deprived and run- down areas."

Ms Sturgeon and David O'Neil, president of Cosla the umbrella body representing Scotland's 32 councils, were visiting the project which transformed the A-listed building in Govan Road after it had lain empty for 10 years.

The renovation will offer office space, by dividing the old offices into 12 new units while retaining the original features and architectural character of the old building, including the original wood panelled boardroom.

Govan Workspace is expected to be open in a few months time and will bring around 100 jobs to the area.

Mr O'Neil said: "Commun-ities want resources focused on delivering large scale regeneration projects which can also deliver wider impacts of job creation, clearing up land as well as regenerating buildings and infrastructure.

"We believe the fund as envisaged will deliver long- term strategic and transform-ational change."

stewart.paterson@ heraldandtimes.co.uk