It’s almost a year since the Scottish Government asked the Big Lottery Fund and Highland & Islands Enterprise to work in partnership together to deliver the £6 million Scottish Land Fund (SLF).
Over the last 12 months we have been working with rural communities across Scotland to allow them to take control of their land and assets by accessing SLF funds. We have awarded five grants to five very different projects and there are over 20 communities currently working with the SLF advice and development support team at HIE.
Scottish Land Fund Chair, John Watt, says: “Over the next couple of years we will continue our good work to help communities across Scotland buy land and land assets. The SLF can give rural communities the full range of tools and resources they need to deliver projects which empower local people and build community resilience.
“Pulling together a community land purchase takes time, dedication and planning and we always knew that our first year would mostly be spent working with communities to develop their funding bids rather than making grants. These are exciting times for rural communities as they can take control of their own futures. I would urge those groups who are thinking about taking over a community asset to find out more about how the SLF can help.”
The SLF is open to rural communities (less than 10,000 population) across the whole of Scotland and is not just for large buy outs. Earlier this year the Scottish Borders community of Midlem received £14,877 to allow them to purchase an area of land behind their popular and well used village hall.
Lawrence Robertson, Secretary, Midlem Village Hall Committee said: “Everybody at Scottish Land Fund has been very helpful at all stages and sensitive to our needs. The hall is truly the heart of the village. Our wee community works really hard to provide lots of lively events throughout the year. With this grant we can now transform a piece of unused rough grass into a great asset for Midlem.”
The SLF was created to allow rural communities achieve increased sustainable economic, social and environmental development by owning and managing land and land assets. The closing date for applications is November 30 2014. If you require more information about the SLF or how to apply then Big Lottery Fund staff are running a webinar on June 20, 2013, for information and to register, go to: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/611776486.
And visit http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/scottishlandfund to find out more.