MUIRKIRK residents turned out in numbers to have their say on the future of the funding scheme from the Galawhistle Wind Farm.

On Saturday, the community was asked, as part of a pilot scheme by East Ayrshire Council, if they wanted to take control over the grant application process.

Currently, EAC’s Grants Committee decide what groups in Muirkirk and Glenbuck receive funding. Only one of the 13 councillors on the committee was elected in Ballochmyle.

However, the community may now get to decide how the funds are distributed after overwhelmingly voting in favour of introducing the new pilot scheme.

Margaret MacBain, EAC Vibrant Communities community investment officer, explained: “Muirkirk and Glenbuck have money available to them from the Galawhistle Wind Farm.

“At the moment, it goes to East Ayrshire Council to administer through the renewable energy fund and what we’re doing today is asking the people of Muirkirk and Glenbuck if they would like to see a participatory budgeting process happening for that money.

“This is a pilot so it’s for one year at this stage and depending on the response and how well that goes, that could extend beyond the pilot year.

“Nothing has been set really about [a level of participation]. There have been no expectations put. There was a proposal went to the grants committee for this to happen and the committee asked for a consultation to be undertaken just to see what the response of the communities would be.

“We have to report the response back to the Grants Committee in the beginning of June.

“We’re also having a consultation event in the primary school next Friday.

“All of the pupils will be asked the same question basically and they’ll have a chance to have their say as well. That will be from P1 to P7, the whole school.”

Almost 100 people turned out on Saturday, with everyone agreeing that the local community should decide the funding allocations through a participatory budgeting (PB) process.

They were also asked who should be allowed to vote in the PB process and what the upper and lower limits for funding applications should be.

The results will now be presented to the Grants Committee at the next meeting on June 7.