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£1.3 million awarded by The Scottish Land Fund

The West Highland Museum, home to one of the most important collections of Jacobite artefacts in Scotland, is set to expand following an award of £205,065 from the Scottish Land Fund.

With the money, the West Highland Museum Trust will be able to purchase an adjacent building and two pieces of land, allowing it to provide more facilities for visitors.

Ian Peter MacDonald, Chair, West Highland Museum Trust said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding - it’s a game changer for us. The West Highland Museum celebrates its centenary this year and the money from the Scottish Land Fund enables us to take forward our plans to develop and expand the museum, particularly with regards to community engagement, research and education.”

The funding is just one of 14 awards that have been handed out to urban and rural projects following the latest round of funding from the Scottish Land Fund.

Morvern Games & Gala Week Committee (MGGW) has received £137,452 to take over ownership of 47-acre Knock Park from Ardtornish Estate. MGGW will continue to run the annual Highland games and regular shinty matches as well as providing recreational space for the community. Ownership will provide the opportunity to establish a permanent facility, set up storage facilities and workshops along with a community woodland, motorhome and camp site, new sports and recreation clubhouse.

Megan Whyte, secretary, Morvern Games & Gala Week Committee, said: “The committee are absolutely delighted with the offer from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase Knock Park and surroundings. Our small committee of volunteers have worked hard to achieve this result.

"Community ownership of Knock Park allows us to create a recreational area in the heart of Lochaline for everyone to enjoy. Morvern Games and Gala Week has always had community interest at heart, and we are passionate about making the suggestions we have received from the community a reality’’.

Scourie Community Development Company has received £139,898 to purchase an area of land, where it plans to develop affordable housing, including a mix of community-owned homes for rent, alongside low-cost homes and plots for sale, protected by a Rural Housing Burden, and two business units, as a way of strengthening the long-term future of the community, increasing available housing and reversing the trend of migration.

Neil Macdonald, Chairman of SCDC said, “There is a housing crisis in the fragile communities in west Sutherland which is resulting in depopulation and dramatic reduction in school rolls. This award will allow SCDC to purchase land on which to build a minimum of eight housing units and two enterprise units. We will be working in partnership with the landowner and the grazing committee to open up opportunities for self-build plots thus increasing the types and range of houses which will become available.”

Crathes Public Hall Trust in Aberdeenshire has been given £22,515, which will allow it to buy Station Woods in Crathes, which it plans to use for community events.

Moira Hamilton, Convener, Board of Trustees, Crathes Public Hall Trust, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this Scottish Land Fund grant which will enable us to purchase the woodland surrounding our current and future community hall for events such as barbecues, picnics, children’s nature clubs and to use as an outside space for hall weddings and for short walks, relaxation and meditation. The community have enthusiastically supported this project and are keen to get involved in planting trees and a hedge as well as organising activities in the wood.”

Pirnmill Village Association on Arran has received £14,129 with which to purchase Pirnmill Community Centre, which it has been running for more than 30 years, from current owners, North Ayrshire Council. PVA will continue to use the centre to host community events.

Hazel Cranstoun, Chair, Pirnmill Village Association, said: “We’re so grateful to the Scottish Land Fund for helping us create a fit-for-purpose, locally-owned Community Centre. It’s going to be game-changing to be able to extend our range of events, activities and services and bring so many benefits to island-wide organisations, as well as the village of Pirnmill and its residents and visitors.”

New Cumnock Development Trust receives £24,750 to purchase the former ‘Trotters’ building, a semi-derelict shop in New Cumnock and turn it into a re-use and repair hub, with training and apprenticeships opportunities.

Susan Kerr, Chair, Board of Trustees, New Cumnock Development Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Scottish Land Fund to help our community buy the ‘Trotters’ building. This building has been empty, boarded up and in poor condition for a long time, it's really been an eyesore in the centre of our village. With the Scottish Land Fund’s help, we have been able to carry out feasibility work to ascertain the condition of the building and identify a viable and sustainable use. The stage 2 funding means that ‘Trotters’ is now owned by the community of New Cumnock and we can press on with plans to bring the building back into productive use.”

And Bennochy Community Hub SCIO in Kirkcaldy has received £316,250, with which it is set to take over ownership of Bennochy House (Polish Community Club) and to continue to operate it as a social and recreational centre.

John Hamilton, Chair of Trustees, Bennochy community Hub SCIO, said: “We are delighted to receive a grant from the Scottish Land Fund. This is a major boost to our efforts to purchase Bennochy House. Local ownership will remove the threat of closure, which has hung over us for many years, and allow the Hub to continue as a multi-function community facility for the benefit of the people of Kirkcaldy Central.

“The building is a venue for many activities, all important to the local community. As a unique multi-function facility in Kirkcaldy Central, it offers meeting and consultation rooms; garden area and allotments; outdoor recreational areas and facilities social gatherings.”

Amongst the groups which use the building are children of Polish residents, Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club, darts and fishing clubs, groups tackling social isolation and fitness classes.

Mairi McAllan, Minister, Environment and Land Reform, said: “Local communities know best what is needed in their own areas, and that is why they should have the power to decide the future of the land and buildings that matter to them. The Scottish Land Fund grants are an important vote of confidence in the future of communities, and the projects they undertake.

"It's great to see such a diverse range of projects benefit from the support of the fund – collectively they are helping to preserve local and national history, to provide affordable housing, support community events and encourage engagement with the natural environment.

“These grants are a tribute to the hard work and resilience of the many people who have given up their time for the common good. I look forward to seeing their projects flourish in 2022."

Cara Gillespie, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair said: “The diversity of projects supported, and the range of communities leading them, shows just how much appetite and ambition there is for community ownership of land and land assets. We are pleased to support these projects and look forward to welcoming many more applications from communities across Scotland”

Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, said: “These successful projects announced today across Scotland are all fantastic examples of people taking control of local resources for the long-term benefit of their communities. Scourie Community Development Company, for example, will be able to purchase land to develop affordable housing and business units. Ownership will give them greater control over important assets that will reap rewards for people now and for generations to come. We wish all the successful groups the very best in their new ventures.”

Other groups in Scotland receiving funding today are:

Croy Community Hub
Award - £98,908

This group will acquire the former health centre in Croy, North Lanarkshire, and continue to operate it as a community hub, and continue to host the credit union and food pantry.

Langside Sports Club
Award - £70,553

With this award, Langside Sports Club will purchase 10-acre Albert Park, maintaining this well-used recreational space, grounds and park for the community. The Club will preserve the park and buildings, including a clubhouse and cricket pavilion, and work with local biodiversity groups to enhance the green value of the park.

Broadford and Strath Community Company
Award - £31,050

BSCC will purchase land in Broadford, Skye, to develop an overflow campsite, amenity and community space and woodland.

Tiree Rural Development Ltd
Award - £14,445

Tiree Rural Development Ltd, which already owns the building, will purchase the 7.26 acres of land where Tiree Rural Centre is located and where they will continue to provide a crofting auction mart for the community.

Portree and Braes Community Trust SCIO
Award - £21,180

This group will use the award to acquire an area of land in Portree to establish community allotments, create communal growing opportunities and plant trees for biodiversity and shelter. Community ownership will deliver a range of social and environmental benefits for local residents and visitors.

Nith Valley LEAF Trust
Award- £21,068

Nith Valley LEAF Trust will acquire Closeburn School playing field, the only area of land in the area that is suitable for events and activities and restore it as a usable space by removing fallen trees and repairing its boundaries.

Bothwell Futures
Award - £152,420

Bothwell Futures will acquire Bothwell Library, situated on the town’s Main Street, and develop it as a multi-functional community hub providing a range of activities, including library services.

Notes to Editors

  • The Scottish Land Fund reopened to applications in April 2016. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, both of which have extensive experience of helping communities to acquire and develop their assets for over a decade.
  • The SLF Committee was appointed following the normal procedures for public appointments.
  • The National Lottery Community Fund distributes lottery funding to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. It also uses its expertise in grant-giving to distribute non-Lottery funding. Full details of the National Lottery Community Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk. National Lottery Community Fund Public Enquiries Line call: 0300 123 7110

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) delivers the Scottish Government Economic Strategy across more than half of Scotland - from Shetland to Argyll and from the Hebrides to Moray. It aims to support businesses and social enterprises; strengthen communities and fragile areas; develop key sectors, and create the conditions for a competitive and low carbon region. HIE has an annual budget of more than £75m and employs around 300 people in locations around the Highlands and Islands. See more at www.hie.co.uk

Scottish Land Fund

Supporting urban and rural communities to become more resilient and sustainable through the ownership and management of land and land assets.

Read more about this programme

Channel website: https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/

Original article link: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/news/press-releases/2022-03-24/1-3-million-awarded-by-the-scottish-land-fund

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