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Scottish Land Fund puts Sanquhar community in control

A community group in Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway, is poised to take control of an unused building and garden, thanks to a Scottish Land Fund award of £62,442 announced yesterday (29 MAY). 

Upper Nithsdale Arts and Crafts Community Initiative Ltd will use the grant of £62,442 to purchase a vacant three storey building and garden on Main Street in Sanquhar. The acquisition brings this unused building and large garden into community ownership with the option of including it as part of the adjacent community owned A’ the Airts Centre. This will increase the services and activities of the Centre and create new opportunities for the community.

Announcing the funding, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “We know from experience that communities can achieve great things when they own and manage local land and property. The purchase of this empty building and disused garden area by Upper Nithsdale Arts and Crafts Community Initiative will bring fantastic development potential and increased economic opportunities. This is one of two projects receiving funding which reflects the pioneering steps people will take to address problems or challenges in their own areas.”

Anne Foley, Centre Manager, A' the Airts, said: “The Board, staff and members of Upper Nithsdale Arts and Crafts Community Initiative are absolutely delighted that the Scottish Land Fund has granted funding to purchase a building in Sanquhar High Street. Owning this property, which is adjacent to A’ the Airts Community Arts Centre, provides us with much needed additional accommodation and an opportunity for redevelopment which will extend and enhance the centre’s existing facilities and services to the local community. The refurbishment of the building, which has been unoccupied for several years, will also vastly improve the streetscape of Sanquhar. It comes with a substantial area of garden, currently neglected and overgrown, which we now plan to turn into a pleasant community garden with areas for growing healthy food.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The awards of these grants to communities throughout Scotland to buy land and buildings will help them to make a real difference to their future development. 
“I am delighted to see a diverse range of community land and buildings projects gaining financial support from the Scottish Land Fund from the Western Isles to Dumfries and Galloway. I am confident that the grant awards from the Land Fund will make a tangible difference to the development and future sustainability of these communities. These projects – funding for an estate and a building in a High Street - are examples of communities identifying how land and buildings can be a catalyst for community development; both creating and realising ambitions. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting rural communities throughout Scotland buying land and land assets for their sustainable development.”

The Scottish Land Fund is funded by £9 million from the Scottish Government and administered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The Carloway Estate Trust receives a Scottish Land Fund grant of £207,500 to purchase an area of land on the north-west coast of the Isle of Lewis that includes the renowned Callanish Standing Stones.

For more information on this release please contact

Big Lottery Fund Scotland
0141 242 1458

Scottish Government Press Office
0131 244 2018

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 to 
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