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Scotland’s remotest mainland pub gets go-ahead from Scottish Land Fund

£659,319 for Highland and Island projects

A pub in Knoydart and land for social housing on Canna are set to be bought by their local communities following awards from the Scottish Land Fund.

The Old Forge Community Benefit Society Ltd has received £508,000 in order to take over ownership of one of Scotland’s remotest pubs and keep it open as a focal point for the local community and as an attraction for visitors who make the journey to Knoydart by ferry or who walk the 16 miles over challenging terrain from the nearest road.

Jacqui Wallace and Rhona Miller, Co-chairs, The Old Forge Community Benefit Society Ltd, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Land Fund has chosen to support our community-ownership bid of The Old Forge. This project is of huge importance to Knoydart and we are now in a strong position to make it a reality.”  

And Isle of Canna Community Development Trust has received £89,700, which will allow it to buy up two areas of land on which to build three houses as part of the island’s first community-led affordable housing project.

Geraldine MacKinnon, Chair, Isle of Canna Community Development Trust, said: “Getting the funding to acquire these house sites is a great step towards regenerating Canna and rebuilding our population to a sustainable level.”

Also receiving backing from the Scottish Land Fund during recent funding awards is Carloway Estate Trust (Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh), which has been given £61,619 with which to purchase the Doune Broch Visitor Centre and upgrade facilities at Doune Carloway, Lewis, one of the best-preserved stone brochs in Scotland.

Today’s awards are part of a package of grants to eight groups in Scotland totalling £1,112,787.

Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan, said: “All across Scotland, communities are taking ownership of the land and buildings that matter to them with the support of the Scottish Land Fund.

“I know how hard people will have worked to develop their projects and to achieve this success, and I look forward to seeing the benefits for their communities. They follow in the footsteps of an ever-increasing number of communities who have taken ownership of vital local assets with support from the Scottish Land Fund. With another £1 million of funding being announced, community ownership in Scotland looks set to continue to go from strength to strength.”

Cara Gillespie, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair said: “It is a privilege and a pleasure to be involved in empowering our communities to take control of their destiny through ownership of local land and buildings. These projects will enable so much more than the activities that will take place in the physical assets- they will support local economies and strengthen the resilience of their communities.”

Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, said: “Communities in the region have been driving forward plans to support and enhance their local areas in what has been a challenging year. These diverse projects are all fantastic examples of people taking control of local resources for the long-term benefit of communities. 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:

Easter Breich Wood Community Group
Award - £128,637 

This project will acquire Easter Breich Woodland from the current owner, Green Action Trust (GAT), for the benefit of the communities of Seafield, Polbeth and West Calder. The wood currently is an important green space for the local residents as well as visitors from the wider Livingston area. It is popular for recreation, as part of the core path network and also a habitat corridor for an array of woodland and river species. The project will maintain and improve the woodland, footpaths, and bridleways, for the provision of recreational activities with the object of improving the quality of life and health of the community.

Port Bannatyne Development Trust 
Award - £150,190

This project will purchase the last village pub, the Anchor Tavern, and the land to the rear from two private owners. The project will create a community pub/hub and garden in the heart of the village that will be open daily all year round, providing a focal point where all members of the community could go for social and recreational purposes. Spaces will also be made available for remote working, meeting, training, contributing to general health and wellbeing and skill development.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre Community Trust
Award - £11,840

The money will allow this group to purchase the Broch Field, a 4.4-acre site of parkland, mixed woodland and car park from Forest and Land Scotland to ensure its continued use for community events and to promote biodiversity.

Inchinnan Development Trust
Award - £71,851

This award will allow Inchinnan Development Trust to purchase Teuchee Woodland from private owners in order to restore its ancient woodland and improve public access.

Bigton Collective
Award - 90,950

With this award Bigton Collective will purchase the former St Ninian’s Kirk, a disused church on Shetland from the Church of Scotland, which they aim to turn into a space for events, exhibitions, and community use.

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 300 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

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