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Community groups receive £853k backing from the Scottish Land Fund

£853,022 for four community groups

Four groups have received a total of £853,022 from the Scottish Land Fund to buy land and buildings and transform them for the benefit of their local communities.

Leanchoil Trust

In Forres, the Leanchoil Trust has been given £440,500 in order to acquire the former NHS Leanchoil Hospital site, including the main hospital, ancillary buildings, grounds and woodland. The site will be renovated and turned into a centre for health and wellbeing, as well as providing supported living accommodation and veterans’ activity centre.

Graham Hilditch, Chair, Leanchoil Trust, said:

“We are delighted to receive this award from the Scottish Land Fund, which is key to returning Leanchoil, a much-loved local landmark, back into community ownership and service. It is also recognition of the hard work that Trustees have put in to getting the project to this point.”

In Stirlingshire, Killin and Ardeonaig Community Development Trust has received a grant of £207,141 with which to purchase the old Co-op building in Killin, and develop it into a Business and Reuse Hub, with repair, learning and retail facilities and offering educational and volunteering opportunities.

Paul GodzikChair, Killin and Ardeonaig Community Development Trust, said:

“Larger premises will allow us to develop our social enterprise activity, expanding our successful reuse shop, developing our tool library and providing more training, learning and volunteer opportunities. The funding can make a big difference to our small community and we are delighted that the Scottish Land Fund has provided this support.’

Applecross Community Company, based in the west Highlands has been awarded £106,833 to acquire a church building in Camusterrach, Applecross. The Company hopes to create community hub for offices, flexible workshop space and a ‘library of things’, along with two one-bedroom flats.

Chris Ward, Chair, Applecross Community Company, said:

”We are delighted to be awarded this grant, enabling us to retain a significant local building under community ownership and develop it into a multipurpose hub. Thank you to the Scottish Land Fund, the Church of Scotland, the local congregation and our local community for all their support so far.”

And in East Lothian, The Ridge has been given £98,548 to purchase Empire Close in Dunbar, in order to continue to offer various services from the site, including a community training garden. They also plan to construct a skills training centre and re-open an historic walking route.

Steve Killen, ChairThe Ridge, said:

“Empire Close has become a very special and important place within our community, providing a beautiful garden space where people can come together to learn growing skills and experience all the wonderful benefits to physical and mental wellbeing of gardening. It is also a really important learning space for young people from our local schools to try their hand at construction skills.”

“Ownership of the site will ensure this precious asset is preserved and enhance, with the addition of a purpose-built skills training centre. We will also reopen a medieval walkway between our sits, reconnecting ourselves with the past.”

Mairi McAllan, Minister, Environment and Land Reform, said:

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Land Fund continues to empower local groups to improve their local areas.

“Communities know best what’s right for them including when it comes to the ownership and use of local land and buildings. Therefore it’s great to see more groups being supported to bring their vision for thriving community assets to life. 

“I congratulate the recipients of the funding and wish them every success for the future.”

Cara Gillespie, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair said:

“The grants will allow these groups to provide a range of much-needed support, education and, in some cases, accommodation, for both urban and remote communities around the country “

Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, said:

“These successful projects announced today across Scotland are all great examples of people taking control of local resources for the long-term benefits of their communities. For example, the Applecross Community Company will be able to acquire a building to create much-needed space for offices, a workshop and housing, which will benefit local people and visitors to the area.

“Ownership will give the community groups 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.”

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