There are just a few weeks left for community groups in Scotland to enter an awards scheme which will donate £175,000 to organisations making a real difference in their local areas.

The Spirit of the Community Awards was launched by Clydesdale Bank earlier this year, to mark the Bank’s 175th Anniversary.

Community groups in Scotland have the chance to receive a share of £175,000 by entering the initiative. Clydesdale Bank will make substantial donations to voluntary groups in each of three categories; education, employability and environment. The aim is to recognise registered charities and not-for-profit groups going the extra mile.

The awards are open to a range of organisations right across the third sector who can demonstrate their support for the community. This could include groups promoting access to financial education, helping equip people for the workplace or those focused on protecting and improving the environment.

The top three winners in each of the three categories will receive £10,000 of funding. In addition, five highly commended initiatives in each category will each receive £5,000 to support their community activity. A further £10,000 will go to one of the top three winners meaning one organisation will receive £20,000.

David Thorburn, Chief Executive of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said: “The economic environment has been particularly challenging for many not for profit organisations and voluntary groups. Despite increased financial pressures, many continue to provide an invaluable service, often with very little recognition.

“These awards will recognise the vital support that community organisations provide for thousands of people right across Scotland. There are still a few weeks to go until the closing date for applications and we want to make sure as many organisations as possible have the chance to receive a share of the funds.”

Clydesdale’s sister organisation, Yorkshire Bank, which celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2009, will also award £75,000 to local programmes as part of the Spirit of the Community Awards initiative. This brings the total funds available for community groups up and down the country to a quarter of a million pounds.

Scotland groups wishing to enter should visit or go into their local Clydesdale Bank branch to get an application form and further information. Entries will be open until Sunday 31st March and winners will be announced in June.

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