Councillor welcomes u-turn on funding for bingo halls

Aberdeenshire councillor Mark Findlater has welcomed a "better late than never" u-turn on support for bingo halls.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 3:21 pm
Bingo halls can now apply for funding as they look to reopen

Councillor Findlater wrote to the finance secretary Kate Forbes urging her to grant a level of discretionary funding.This came after it emerged Fraserburgh was one of 19 bingo halls to have received nothing from the Scottish Government, along with Buckie, Elgin and Inverness, while similar outlets like cinemas had obtained funding.Staff costs are being met by the UK Government’s furlough scheme but independent organisers across Scotland said there has been nothing for the fabric and maintenance since doors shut in March last year.They are anticipated to reopen on May 17 after spending the bulk of 14 months behind shutters.

It has now been announced that independent bingo halls can bid for grants of up to £50,000,

Councillor Findlater, the Conservative candidate for Banffshire and Buchan Coast in the Scottish Parliament elections, called for “a bit of fairness” to decrease social isolation and help the local community.

He said: “For many people, bingo is a vital social activity. The game is almost secondary to that, but the place and the welcoming, friendly environment still needs to be there."This funding is a welcome u-turn after a year with little support for this industry.

"It is better late than never and I am sure the volume of correspondence received has loudly made the case for local bingo."