Big Lottery Fund
Scottish Land Fund backs local bid for Highland estate
£1,000,000 for community ownership project
Plans to take a large area of land in Morvern into community ownership get a major boost from the Scottish Land Fund.
Morvern Community Woodlands (MCW) has received £1,000,000 towards its bid to take the 2400 hectare Killundine Estate into community ownership.
The group has identified ownership of the estate as a key factor in creating housing and employment opportunities as well as driving forward projects to protect and restore the natural environment in one of the most remote parts of Scotland.
Morvern Community Woodlands’ plans include a proposal to create new crofts, as well as harvesting timber, restoring estate buildings, regenerating native woodland and restoring peatlands.
Killundine Estate is made up of hill ground which supports grazing for deer; pastures; conifer plantation and ancient semi-ancient Atlantic hazel woods.
Veronique Walraven, chair of MCW, said:
“We are very grateful for the support from Scottish Land Fund. We have been working on this project for over three years. Morvern is a fragile community with an ageing population and a falling school roll. Among other things, our plans for Killundine will bring business and housing prospects for young families. We now need to raise the additional capital of £1.7 million so that the people of Morvern – and the West Highlands more widely – can benefit from the opportunities this presents.”
Alasdair Firth, who has led the project for MCW, said:
“This project will have a whole range of benefits for the community. Ownership of Killundine will allow the regeneration and recovery of part of Scotland’s rainforest, as well as restoration of peatlands and other habitats on the estate. Post-COVID, this grant will provide a boost to both the economy and the environment. We are delighted to be one step closer to being able to take this forward.”
Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives. Communities across the country, whilst impacted in so many ways by the lockdown, are playing a vital role in responding to the crisis and maintaining our resilience, our sense of spirit and local support network.
“I am pleased that Morvern Community Woodland has secured this significant funding and hope that it will help the project take great steps towards fulfilling its ambition to create jobs and housing for the local community whilst restoring peatland and protecting the natural environment within the Killundine Estate.”
John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair said:
“Awards to fragile communities such as Morvern give local people the opportunity to take ownership of the assets on their doorstep and use them in ways that will reap benefits for future generations.”
Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, said:
“The community’s ownership aspirations were welcomed by the current owners who provided sufficient time to enable the community to develop their proposal. It is encouraging to see such positive collaboration between the estate and the local community.”
Morvern Community Woodlands has made a video (link here) in which locals describe what ownership of the estate would mean to the local community.
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