Asda has donated £172,000 worth of funding to the latest recipients of its Community Capital scheme. 

The scheme is funded by the proceeds of the mandatory 5p carrier bag charge at the supermarket chain and has helped to fund projects including parent and child healthy cooking programmes and IT training programmes for young people. The most recent organisations to benefit from the funding include the Leith Theatre Trust, the Bay Tree Community Café, Highland Perthshire Media and activity company Venture Mor.

This means that loans and grants totalling nearly £700,000 have been given to more than 160 local charities and community projects across Scotland.

Half of the bag charge proceeds have been distributed to Foundation Scotland to provide grants of up to £2,000 to nominated projects while the other half has been given to Social Investment Scotland, which provides loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to social enterprises. 

Overall, Asda has seen plastic bag usage in Scotland drop by 90% since the charge was brought in just over a year ago (October 2014). 

“Our stores are often the cornerstone of the communities we serve and we’re committed to ensuring that this policy has long-term social, as well as environmental, benefits,” said Allan Miller, senior director for Asda Scotland. 

“It’s fantastic to see the huge number of Scottish community groups and social enterprises that have benefited from the £700,000 proceeds raised over the last year and I can’t wait to see what’s next.” 

Alastair Davis, CEO, Social Investment Scotland, said Asda’s Community Capital fund had enabled the organisation to help enterprises that would previously have struggled to gain funding.

“Thanks to the fund, we’ve been able to support 10 highly motivated, small, community-based enterprises throughout Scotland,” he said. “As a result of the fund we’ve connected more capital with communities, making a real, measurable and sustainable impact on people’s lives.”