Councillor Ellen Morton, Policy Lead for Roads and Amenity Services, explained:
“This is a time of unprecedented challenge for local government. Like all councils across the country we have had our funding drastically reduced. This means we need to change the way we do things, and it also means we have to listen to local people and, where possible, protect the things that matter most to them.
“We know festive lighting is important, which is why we have spent so much on it in the past and why we are making money available to keep providing this service over the next three years.
“We know that our area benefits economically from festive lighting, with switch on events being a real draw. We hope these events continue well into the future.
“This money is creating opportunities to work with community groups all across Argyll and Bute to find the best way to keep festive lighting going.
“Christmas events have always drawn a lot of community support from on-the-ground volunteers to organising committees to support from the business community through our various chambers of commerce and business improvement districts.
“We want to harness that support over the next three years and empower our communities to take ownership of their festive lighting. We have a good track record of working with community groups and social enterprises, providing them with advice, support and professional expertise in completing bids for funding that only they can access.
“Last year we helped community groups secure almost £1million of funding. We are confident we can help groups form, constitute and take on the running of the lights. We know festive lighting matters to people and we will be working hard to ensure a long-term, sustainable solution which keeps Argyll and Bute lit up for many Christmases to come.”