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Funding boost for local land initiatives

East Ayrshire, Scottish Borders and Aberdeenshire communities to benefit

Three community land initiatives in the Scottish Borders, East Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire are today (12 JUNE) sharing in Scottish Land Fund grants worth £172,000.

Minister for Land Reform, Aileen McLeod said, “ “I am delighted to see the latest round of Scottish Land Fund awards which will help six communities in south Ayrshire, the Scottish Borders, Aberdeenshire and the Western Isles bring land into community ownership. 

“These communities have developed their own plans for their local land which ranges from estates to small key pieces of land that will help them to transform their communities and bring a host of benefits; economic, social and environmental. I am looking forward to watching them develop the land on which they live and work to realise their goals and ambitions, as the Scottish Government seeks to support community land ownership and bring more land into community ownership by 2020.”

Set within a small rural community of just 200 residents, the Tweedsmuir Community Company (TCC) receives £127,500 to purchase a 1.14 hectare piece of land adjoining the historic Crook Inn – a building previously brought into community ownership back in 2013. The land includes a semi-derelict coach-house, former Hotel owner’s house, and listed outbuildings, as well as part of the former railway line, which took workers to the Talla Reservoir during its construction. Thanks to today’s Scottish Land Fund award, TCC will now own and develop the site, which in turn enable it to develop the breadth of proposals for the Crook Inn Community Hub.

James Welch, TCC Director, said: “The TCC is delighted with this substantial award from the Scottish Land Fund as it will dramatically increase the scope to develop and sustain our rural and isolated community, by enhancing the long term viability of the Crook Inn Community Hub. It will provide opportunities for employment, learning and training, social and cultural life and in the support of local business. It also provides scope for innovative new developments at this historic site.”

The site of a former primary school in Crossroads, East Ayrshire will be brought into community ownership, thanks to a grant of £30,500. The Crossroads Community Hub Ltd will purchase the site from East Ayrshire Council and establish a new community hub encompassing a community-managed farm shop, cafe, craft gallery, multi-use community space and learning centre. 

Mary Laidlaw, Secretary of Crossroads Community Hub Ltd, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding as owning the land is the first step towards creating a community–owned facility which will help to promote the rural economy and increase community engagement in the local area. Recent funding from the Scottish Government Strengthening Communities programme has allowed us to employ a development coordinator and we now look forward to being able to press on with developing the Hub which will be the  first community–managed farm shop with an integral social/educational centre  in Scotland.”

Birse Community Trust in Aberdeenshire receives £14,000 to purchase 5 hectares at Slewdrum Forest near Potarch on Deeside. The acquisition will add to the 169 hectares of Slewdrum Forest already owned by the Trust and will enable it to further develop the management of the Forest on behalf of the local community.

The Chair of Birse Community Trust, Jean McLeod, said: "The Trust is delighted to be awarded this grant. The opportunity to buy this extra area of land means that the Trust will be able to implement improvements to the Forest for local and wider public benefit."

Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “These projects are all great examples of local people working together to take control of their own futures. While the Scottish Land Fund is perhaps best known for some of the larger community buy-outs, these latest awards show that the purchase of smaller plots of land and assets can have just as much impact on the lives of local people in communities all over rural Scotland. I wish each of these groups every success as they take forward their plans for community ownership.”

The First Minister announced in her Programme for Government that the Scottish Land Fund will be increased to £10 million from 2016-20.

For more information on this release please contact

Big Lottery Fund Scotland
0141 242 1458 / 07823 552889

Highland and Islands Enterprise Press Office 
01463 244238

Notes to editors

• The Scottish Land Fund has £9 million over four years to assist communities in rural Scotland to acquire, develop and manage local land and land assets. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery 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. Committee members are non remunerated.
• The BIG Lottery 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 BIG Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: BIG Lottery 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


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