A ROW has broken out after it emerged that £10,000 was paid out from a council anti-poverty fund to help run the Viking Festival.

A community councillor today questioned the allocation of the large grant for the nine day event.

Jim Perman, who is a local accountant, believes that there were far more deserving causes for the sum of money - including the foodbank and people struggling to meet ends meet on Universal Credit.

The stated objections of the trust include prevention or relief of poverty, relief of those in need by reason of age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other advantage, and improving the conditions of life fro the persons for whom provided recreational facilities/activities are primarily intended.

It is also stated by the council that the entire funding of £18,000 is 'restricted for relief of poverty'.

Mr Perman said: "I don't see how giving £10,000 to the Viking Festival relieves poverty in Largs in any way.

"Do social services not know of anyone whose Universal Credit has been delayed, and could do with a few pounds?

"We have a foodbank in Largs - would support for this not be a more direct way to relieve poverty?"

The decisions regarding the management of the trust have been delegated to the North Coast Locality Partnership.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, who is chair of the Viking Festival, says the application was entirely within the rules.

He said: "We applied for our grants and received them in legitimate fashion.

"We applied for the money through the criteria put to us by the funding body and we got the money, and we got it legitimately within the rules."

Guidance notes for the fund state that the trustees 'may interpret poverty broadly'.

They add: "The prevention of poverty includes preventing those who are poor from becoming poorer as well as preventing those who are at risk of being poor.

"It must be possible to demonstrate that the activities for which funding is requested are clearly targeted at people suffering or at risk of poverty."

The notes go on to cite examples such as training for work skills, provision of recreational facilities, youth clubs or senior citizens clubs.

The Viking Festival attracted thousands of visitors to Largs and was recently recognised as a leading tourist attraction.

It celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “The North Coast Locality Partnership agreed at their meeting on 13 March to grant £10,000 to the Viking Festival from the Largs Town Charitable Trust.

“There is a clear process for community groups applying for funding from North Ayrshire’s charitable trusts and the appropriate procedures have been followed correctly in this case.

“The charitable trust can provide funding for recreational facilities or activities which improve the conditions of life of those in need.

"The free events provide recreational activities which those in need would be otherwise find difficult to access.”