VILLAGERS in a flood-hit Borders community finally have reason to smile after being awarded more than £650,000 towards a learning centre and bunkhouse.

Newcastleton was ravaged by floodwaters just two weeks ago, and the clean-up operation in and around the village is continuing.

But this week Newcastleton and District Community Trust were given the good news that its bid for funds to upgrade a village-centre building has been successful.

The Scottish Government has pledged £664,000 towards the new enterprise and learning centre, which will also have bunkhouse accommodation.

Barbara Elborn, secretary of Newcastleton and District Community Trust, said: "A significant amount of work has gone in to developing this project, which will create business space, new community learning and meeting rooms and a no-frills bunkhouse capitalising on the growing outdoor leisure market.”

Holyrood has committed a total of £25million in the latest round of funding towards regeneration projects across the country to help people from disadvantaged and rural communities.

As well as the Newcastleton project, a further £545,000 has been awarded to the Eyemouth Harbour Waterfront Regeneration Programme,

Communities secretary Aileen Campbell told us: “We have invested more than £160 million in projects through this partnership with COSLA since 2014 to tackle inequalities, support business and create jobs that will promote growth and inclusivity in some of our most deprived, disadvantaged and remote communities across the country.

“I know this latest £25million is going to make a big difference to the community projects across Scotland that will share this award.”

Among the other projects to benefit is the Clyde Gateway URC which collects £4million for its Red Tree Office Development, and £1 million goes to the Perth & Kinross Letham Community Wellbeing Hub.

Councillor Steven Heddle, COSLA’s environment and economy spokesperson added: “The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund continues to provide local authorities with an invaluable tool to help deliver on the regeneration aspirations of the communities which they represent. The range of projects reflects the need for localised approaches to help regenerate communities across the country, all of which will help deliver strong economic, social, and physical outcomes.

“Continuation of the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund for the remainder of the Parliamentary term emphasises the joint commitment of Local Government and Scottish Government to regenerating deprived and disadvantaged communities, and I look forward to seeing what further innovative projects come forward in the future rounds of this fund.”