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UK Gov saves 6 vital community spaces from closure in Scotland

Six vital community assets in Scotland like youth hubs, cinemas and sports clubs have been saved from closure, thanks to £3.8m announced by UKG recently (23 March 2024).

This investment from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Community Ownership Fund will ensure these beloved establishments are protected, ensuring they will be around for generations to come.  This funding will maintain more community spaces for people to enjoy, helping to bolster local economies as well as contributing to the government’s wider mission to grow the economy.

Across the United Kingdom, the Department recently announced £33.5m to save more than 80 projects in our communities.  

Projects receiving funding in Scotland include:

Crookfur House: 

A revival of facilities in a supported living estate in East Renfrewshire to create a fit for purpose and needs led community hub. Thanks to this government cash boost, this group will be able to reap the rewards of a new café, community spaces and support staff offices.


Reopening of a new and improved cinema in Edinburgh that will be sustainable for generations to come. The venue will screen films that would not otherwise be accessible as well as host up and coming film festivals to be enjoyed by local people and visitors. 

Penicuik Youth Hub: 

Transforming this community centre in Midlothian into a ‘Youth Hub for excellence’, providing dedicated spaces for young people to have more sporting and performing arts opportunities in their local area. 

Castlemilk Community Football Trust: 

New money to create high-quality sporting facilities in Glasgow with the aim to increase community engagement in football and other grassroots sports. They will also provide fitness classes and community social events and activities.    

Jacob Young, Minister for Levelling Up, recently said: 

We know how much these vital community assets mean to people across the country. They are an important lifeline for people young and old, and they’re the beating heart of our towns, cities and villages. That’s why we’re stepping in to protect them with a major rescue package, so we stop these great establishments closing or being lost forever and ensure that they continue to sit at the heart of our beloved communities.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Donald Cameron recently said: 

Congratulations to the six Scottish projects receiving more than £3.8m in the latest round of the UK Government’s local asset saving Community Ownership Fund.  It was a pleasure to visit Filmhouse, Edinburgh, and see first-hand just how much it meant for them to be awarded £1.54 million to help re-open this much cherished venue. The other winners - Macaulay College in the Western Isles, Castlemilk Community Football Trust in Glasgow and community centres in Penicuik, Kilmarnock and Newton Mearns - means that 47 community assets right across Scotland are sharing almost £17 million from the fund. I encourage community groups across Scotland to see if they might be eligible to apply for the next and final round. Overall the UK Government is now investing more than £3 billion into levelling up across Scotland.

Among the projects receiving funding is the Edinburgh Filmhouse which opened in 1979 but became run down over time and had to close in 2022. It will now receive £1.5million so that it can open its doors again, and the newly refurbished venue will screen the best new films from across the globe. 

Ginnie Atkinson, Director, Filmhouse, Edinburgh recently said: 

We are delighted that our bid for UK Government Community Ownership Fund investment has been successful. Many have dreamed of Filmhouse re-opening and this will make it possible not just to re-open but to create a fully refurbished cinema venue that meets modern audience expectations. It will also allow us to add a small, multi-use, fourth screen which will help optimise the diverse cultural programme of films and be available for education activities. 

Previous beneficiaries of the scheme in Scotland include:

Bailliefields Community Hub SCIO, Graham Thomson, Trustee recently said: 

Receipt of the COF award was a significant milestone in the Phase 2 redevelopment of Bailliefields Community Hub. The award has allowed us to progress our project and appoint a building contractor. The contractor has commenced on site in early March 2024 with the project scheduled for completion by end of July 2024. Once completed then the building will provide a warm, welcoming and vibrant community space for various groups in our area including our dementia group, disability group, local schools and a local children’s nursery. This will be an interesting repurposing of an existing building.

Gordon Rural Action, Laura McNeil, funding and retail support recently said:

The Community Ownership Fund, along with The MacRobert Trust, has allowed us to complete the purchase of the building housing our Bike Recycling project. The purchase will allow us to secure the future of the building, ensuring we can continue to stop bikes reaching landfill, help people access bikes and opportunities to exercise, while teaching people new skills and offering employment and volunteering options. The project employs 5 people, 2 of which are young people who we have employed in a traineeship to give them positive future outcomes. Last year we had 360 bikes donated and put 200 bikes back into the community.

This is the third announcement of funding from the third round of the Community Ownership Fund, bringing the total spending from the pot to more than £103m with 333 projects rescued so far. 

Scottish projects in this round will be supported with £3.8 million of funding, with a further £2.8 million for Northern Ireland and £3.1 million for Wales. So far, the Community Ownership Fund has awarded a total £17 million for 47 projects in Scotland; £8.1 million for 31 projects in Northern Ireland and over £7 million for 24 projects in Wales. 

Since Round 1 of the Fund, Ministers have funded all bids which have passed the criteria for successful applications. This approach allows the Department to fund the maximum number of projects. In future windows ministers may choose to prioritise funding to underrepresented areas to help even out any regional imbalances.

The next round of the Community Ownership Fund, Round 4, is the final round. There will be two bidding windows in Round 4 to allocate remaining funding. The next bidding window, Round 4 Window 1, will open on 25 March 2024 and close on 10 April 2024.


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