An Elgin councillor has called Creative Scotland’s distribution of cash to groups in Moray “scandalous”.
Since 2020 a total of almost £2.26 million has been awarded to organisations and individuals involved in the arts in the area.
However nearly £2.1 million of it has gone to those based in the IV36 Forres postcode area – 93% of the funding.
And it is Findhorn that sees the greatest benefit with almost £1.77 million.
‘Not one penny for Elgin’
Those in Forres received just over £329,000.
Just under £161,000 has been given out in the rest of Moray.
The figures exclude grants to the local authority to support and develop music making opportunities for young people.
Elgin North councillor Sandy Keith said the distribution of funds was “absolutely astonishing”.
He has invited chief executive of Creative Scotland Iain Munro to Moray to explain what has happened.
Mr Keith said: “The allocation of funding is nothing short of scandalous from a publicly funded body.
“It’s absolutely astonishing that there’s not one penny for Elgin, and we’re supposed to be building a cultural quarter here.
“What we really need to know with this is are they looking at where the money’s being allocated?
£1.77m in grants for Findhorn
“Did nobody notice that most of the money’s going to one postcode?”
A spokesperson for Creative Scotland said Mr Munro would reply to Mr Keith’s request when he returns from holiday.
And a revised process for distributing grants is under way.
As well as distributing funding from the National Lottery and Scottish Government, the organisation also supports creative industries and helps people gain experience in the sector.
Since 2020 Moray Council has received £615,450 for the Youth Music Initiative, which Mr Keith welcomes.
But he criticised the disparity of other funds given out by the organisation.
He said: “The youth music scheme is great. It gives school pupils music making opportunities, and that’s across the whole of Moray via the council.
“But other money is not being used for wider community benefit. And Elgin – the largest town – has not received a single penny, and no one picked that up.
“There’s UHI Moray with their arts and performance profile, and Out of the Darkness Theatre Company .
“If Mr Munro and his colleagues come up they could support groups and help with the application process, because they’re the experts.”
Findhorn Bay Arts produce cultural events and run the Findhorn Bay Festival. which takes place in the village every two years.
Since 2020 the organisation has received more than £727,000, with six successful applications to four different funding streams.
And awards for Dance North total over £596,000.
Also the Universal Hall at Findhorn Foundation has received almost £339,000 for five bids.
Out with the IV36 postcode, Kiss Nightclub in Buckie had two applications approved.
It received £81,792 from the Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund to help with the impact of the Covid pandemic.
Revision of funding distribution
A spokesperson for Creative Scotland called for those looking to apply for grants to get in touch.
They said: “In our continued drive to grow engagement with arts and creativity and to help build more diverse, equitable and sustainable cultural and creative communities for the future, we’re in the process of developing revised processes for distributing our funding to individuals and organisations.
“We’d recommend anyone wishing to apply for funding, to get in touch with us and find out what support is available to them.”