November 28, 2018
Someone should commission a book (maybe they already have) of all the awards that the Scottish Land Fund has made since it was launched. This book would try to capture all the untold stories and unintended benefits that have flowed from these investments. The sheer number of communities to benefit and the variety of projects that this funding has helped to kick start would be interesting in itself – it would also inspire more communities to follow suit. The most recent funding announcement sees £1.6million split between 10 groups stretching from Wigtown in the south to Sandwick in the Shetland Islands.
£1.6m for ten community ownership projects
Residents of Rousay in Orkney, population 216, have plans to purchase 1,710 acres of peatland and pasture in order to secure the site of their community owned wind turbine, improve facilities for locals and visitors and to create new jobs.
Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust (REWDT) receives £260,000 from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase the Trumland Estate, taking 15% of the island into community hands. The estate, which features archaeological remains including chambered cairns and a crannog, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and community ownership will create part-time employment opportunities for a Project Officer and a Ranger as well as allowing the trust to explore improvements to broadband and mobile connectivity.
John Garson, Chair of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust says the group will use the money to create improvements for residents and visitors.
“The REW DT board and staff are thrilled to hear this good news, now we can press ahead with our plans to make this project into a real community asset. The project will help promote Rousay as an attractive place to live and provide two employment opportunities. The follow on stages of this project will also have significant environmental advantages, will encourage and make it easier for locals and tourists to visit the area, provide well needed additional public toilets and have the possibility of aiding digital connectivity across our islands. We can’t wait to get started.”
Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust is one of ten groups across Scotland sharing in £1,646,972 of Scottish Land Fund cash and Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said of today’s grants: “This is great news for the residents of Rousay, and the other successful projects, which are fine examples of land and assets coming into community ownership, allowing local people to get the maximum benefit from them. I know that today’s funding marks a major milestone for them, and will make a real difference in helping those successful community groups to realise their ambitions – enabling communities to press ahead with their ideas, which will be of major benefit to these areas for many years to come.”
John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, said: “Through these grants the Scottish Land Fund is helping people from all over Scotland to make a difference in both inner city areas and in rural communities. From land purchases for amenity and the provision of affordable housing, to creating facilities for local people and visitors, these grants provide the funding to provide solutions to local needs.”
Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, said: “These groups are working really hard to make their community ambitions a reality and it’s great that they have secured SLF funding to help achieve this. We are delighted to see four island communities being successful in this round. The awards will bring important assets into community ownership and give them the resources and control they need to deliver exciting projects for the benefit of people living and visiting their areas. We wish them all the very best in their new ventures.”
Other projects receiving Scottish Land Fund cash today are:
GLENFARG COMMUNITY CENTRE
Award – £229,140
This group will acquire a former schoolhouse adjacent to the existing Glenfarg Village Hall in Perthshire to create meeting rooms and a cafe in order to reduce social isolation and accommodate a variety of community services and events.
CASTLE LOCH LOCHMABEN COMMUNITY TRUST
The award will allow this group to purchase 21 acres of woodland adjoining the grounds of the community-owned Castle Loch in Lochmaben, near Dumfries, to improve access to the loch and create new volunteering opportunities in woodland restoration and management.
SANDWICK SOCIAL & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Award – £38,032
With their grant this group will purchase a piece of land opposite Hoswick Visitor Centre in Shetland in order to create additional car parking and cycle space and to install an electrical vehicle charging point as well as adding outdoor seating and an interpretation area.
NEW LUCE COMMUNITY TRUST
Award – £178,000
Money from the Scottish Land Fund will allow this group to purchase the Kenmuir Arms Hotel in New Luce, Dumfries & Galloway, in order to create a multi-purpose community space with shop, post office, tearoom, restaurant and accommodation for cyclists and walkers on the Southern Upland Way.
PAPAY DEVELOPMENT TRUST
Award – £187,000
Papay Development Trust will purchase a four-bed detached house on the Isle of Papa Westray in the Orkney Isles to help meet the urgent need for long-stay, affordable family homes for rent.
THE PYRAMID AT ANDERSTON
Award – £324,000
The group will purchase the ‘B’ listed Anderston Kelvingrove Parish Church in Glasgow in order to refurbish and reconfigure it to maximise use of the building by community groups, immigrant groups and foreign language churches.
WESTRAY DEVELOPMENT TRUST
Award – £147,600
With cash from the Scottish Land Fund, Westray Development Trust will purchase the former Harbour Master’s house in the village of Pierowall in Westray in the Orkney Isles and transform it into four apartments for affordable rent in order to meet the acute shortage of accommodation on the island.
WIGTOWN & BLADNOCH COMMUNITY INITIATIVE
Award – £130,000
This group will purchase the former Bank of Scotland building in Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway, and develop it as two affordable homes and a bunkhouse for visitors. It will also provide new employment, training and volunteering opportunities for local people.
TARVES DEVELOPMENT TRUST
Award – £99,200
TDT will take over ownership of Tarves Community Hub, which this group has already converted into a community cafe, office space and meeting venue. Owing the Hub will allow the group to provide further community support.