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£706,126 for seven community ownership projects

A former bank building in Huntly, Aberdeenshire is to become a hub for small businesses, self-employed workers and micro businesses as a move towards regenerating the town centre and creating local employment.

Huntly & District Development Trust (HDDT) receives £56,500 from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase the former Royal Bank of Scotland building in the town’s main square in order to create ‘The Hive’, which will offer a range of affordable office, meeting and hot-desk spaces for fledgling start ups, along with business support services. Awarding the grant, the Scottish Land Fund committee described the project as “an innovative response to High Street decline and bank closures, by providing a new service responding to changing patterns of work.”

Bruce Murray, Huntly & District Development Trust Director and Hive Project Lead says the money from the Scottish Land Fund would have a direct impact on the town centre and on the community:

“The Trust is delighted to receive support from the Scottish Land Fund to enable us to secure a strategic building within Huntly’s historic town centre. In recent years, the town has seen a gradual exodus of retail and service providers from the town centre and we’re excited to be able to kick start the re-generation process with the opening of our Hive co-worker facility. The Hive will allow small and micro businesses to cost effectively, get off the ground without some of the challenges normally faced by a fledgling business. Its aim is to provide a sharing, creative and thriving environment that will hopefully allow these embryonic start-ups to grow into larger local employers in the not too distant future. By securing and investing in the former RBS branch offices, with the help of the Scottish Land Fund, we believe that this community purchase will be the catalyst for further entrants to come back into the town centre whether it’s to work, stay or invest. We can’t wait to get started and would like to thank the Scottish Land Fund for their continued support.”

Huntly & District Development Trust is one of seven groups across Scotland sharing in £706,126 of Scottish Land Fund cash and Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said of yesterday’s grants:

“Today marks an important milestone for the seven projects that have had funding approved by the Scottish Land Fund, enabling local residents to push on with their plans to acquire and develop vital local assets.

“I’m pleased that such a diverse range of projects - from turning a former bank into a business hub in Huntly, to securing land for affordable housing on Raasay – have been successful in their applications, and look forward to these groups now realising their ambitions for community ownership, benefitting communities for years to come.”

John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair yesterday said

“The successful projects all share a vision for strengthening their communities and have identified key assets that will enable them to start delivering on their plans. Through the Scottish Land Fund, towns and villages across Scotland are receiving the backing they need to make a real difference in their local areas through bringing land and buildings into community ownership and putting them to good use.”

Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, yesterday 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 seven 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 that received Scottish Land Funding cash yesterday were:

Carradale Community Trust
Award – £13,960

This group will purchase 4.75 acres of woodland from Forest Enterprise Scotland in order to create a garden waste recycling facility for the village and to provide access to walks and wider woodland in the area.

Furnace Community SCIO
Award – £164,065

This group will purchase the village shop in Furnace, Argyll, and the adjacent bungalow, in order to maintain essential shop and post office services in this rural community.

Moniaive Initiative
Award – £56,691

A commercial unit on Moniaive High Street will be purchased and converted into a charity shop, information point, office space and multi-purpose accommodation for a variety of local clubs and organisations.

Raasay Development Trust
Award – £68,230

This project will purchase two acres of land in the village of Inverarish to develop four community-owned homes, which will be available for affordable rent, two self-build plots and a plot to be sold to a local Housing Association for the development of a further two homes.

South Cowal Community Enterprises
Award – £256,680

South Cowal Community Enterprises will acquire an established convenience store and Post Office in order to retain the only village shop and they plan to convert the unoccupied upstairs flat into a bunkhouse and community space.

Upper Tweed Community Enterprise
Award – £90,000

This group will purchase and re-open the former village store in the village of Broughton. The shop closed in March 2018 resulting in the loss of five jobs and entailing villagers in a 12 mile round trip for basic provisions

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: 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 250 people in locations around the Highlands and Islands. See more at:

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


SLF/National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Press Office
07766 742142

Highland and Islands Enterprise Press Office
01463 244244


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