More rural communities now have the chance to take control of their own assets as an extra £3million has been committed to the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) and the scheme extended by 12 months to 2016. These additional funds mean the SLF will have a total spending power of £9million and offers reassurance to those setting out on the community buyout journey that there is time and funds available to turn their dreams into reality.
Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “The Scottish Land Fund seeks to empower rural communities, giving them the resources they need to achieve their plans of local sustainability. Communities are capable of immense achievements when they own and manage their local land and assets. I am delighted that this scheme is being extended. It will offer new and greater opportunities for more communities to take control of their own future for the benefit of local people and economies.”
Director Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Jackie Killeen, said: “We welcome today’s announcement by the Scottish Government for this extra £3 million funding which will hopefully encourage more communities to consider buy-outs. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, Highland and Islands Enterprise, in delivering Scottish Land Fund grants which enable rural communities to achieve increased sustainable economic, social and environmental development by owning and managing land and land assets.”
Highlands and Islands Enterprise Director of Strengthening Communities, Rachael McCormack, said: “Community ownership is key to building resilient rural economies and creating a sense of confidence and community empowerment. The early successes in bringing forward projects through the Scottish Land Fund demonstrate the appetite from communities to benefit from ownership and management of their own assets. HIE welcomes the Scottish Government’s extension of this programme and the considerable funding boost which will provide opportunities for additional community investments across the Highlands and Islands and throughout Scotland.”
Launched last year, the Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It has already helped five community buy-outs: Midlem in the Scottish Borders, Colintraive and Glendaruel in Argyll, Coigach in Wester Ross, Mull of Galloway in Wigtownshire and Covesea Lighthouse on the Moray Firth.