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We're buying our pub, thanks to Scottish Land Fund cash

An enterprising community in the village of Banton, North Lanarkshire, set to purchase its local pub and secure it as a community asset, is one of six across Scotland yesterday (23 NOVEMBER) that shared in £1.4 million of Scottish Land Fund cash.

People United for Banton (P.U.B.) will use its £184,490 award to buy the Swan Inn in Banton, near Kilsyth, and turn it into a new community hub providing a range of services including a shop, post office, café/restaurant and multi-purpose meeting space, whilst retaining the pub as the focal point of the community.

As P.U.B secretary Catherine Moneypenny says, community ownership of the village pub will secure vital, and previously lost, local services for years to come: “Our village was hit hard by the closure of the Post Office in 2010, followed two years later by the village shop. We are absolutely delighted that we can purchase the Swan Inn, which will revitalise our community and ensure the services we so vitally need are restored and secured. Our plans to develop the Swan Inn will extend its remit beyond a straightforward pub whilst retaining the warmth and traditional feeling of ‘the local’.”

From pub to historic landmark, the Scottish Land Fund has also awarded £628,800 to the community group Cockenzie House & Gardens Trust in East Lothian. The group will use the funding to help secure the long term future of historic Cockenzie House, built in 1680, and its associated four acres of grounds.

Having leased the property for four years, community ownership would mean that the group could secure and build on the facilities that it currently provides including two self-catering holiday cottages; 35 offices and studios occupied by small businesses; an art gallery with locally produced arts and crafts; a gift shop and a popular tearoom.

Marietta di Ciacca, Trustee, said: “We are extremely excited by this award. The prospect of community ownership means so much and allows us to now fully invest in our services and our commitment to the community of Cockenzie & Port Seton.”

Announcing the funding totalling £1,382,613, John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, yesterday said: “One of the many strengths of the Scottish Land Fund is its ability to respond flexibly to the individual needs of local communities. For example, today, for the first time, we’re awarding funding to enable local people to buy their village pub. In doing so, this community will be able to restore important facilities which have disappeared from the village in recent years, thereby creating a brighter future for local people, now, and in the future.”

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham, yesterday said: “I’m delighted with today’s announcement that the Scottish Land Fund is supporting six more communities from across Scotland to acquire local assets. Right across the country from Cockenzie in East Lothian, to Glen Brittle in Skye, community groups are responding to local needs and seizing the opportunities we’re opening up to them. These six awards show that our commitment to expand community ownership and control is being met.”

Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets for HIE, yesterday said: “The Scottish Land Fund is keen to support communities from across Scotland to realise their ambitions and bring land and assets that are important to them firmly into their hands. It’s great to see such a range of projects coming forward and we would encourage any community with an idea to get in touch.”

Other projects receiving Scottish Land Fund cash are:

Minginish Community Hall Association
Award: £38,500

This group will purchase an existing car park and an adjacent area of woodland totalling 30.5 acres near the popular Fairy Pools attraction at Glen Brittle, Carbost, on the Isle of Skye. The group will expand the car park to create additional spaces thereby reducing the existing traffic congestion.

Glenboig Development Trust
Award: £87,064 

This group will purchase the Glenboig Community Centre where they currently operate and develop it into a ‘Life Centre’, a flexible, multi-use space that will consolidate a range of community services and facilities into a single community owned asset serving people living in Glenboig, Gartcosh and surrounding villages.

Recycling Jura Islay Group (ReJIG)
Award: £289,389

This group will purchase 263 acres of forest on the Oa peninsula, Islay. The project, Islay Community Forest Initiative, will provide a sustainable forest to create volunteering and training opportunities.

Tiree Community Development Trust
Award: £154,370 

This group will take over the ownership and management of a group of buildings and assets in Hynish, known as the Hynish Centre, from the current owner the Hebridean Trust.

The Scottish Land Fund is keen to support more applications from across Scotland and particularly within urban areas. Groups considering applying should contact the Big Lottery Fund to discuss their idea at or by phoning 0300 123 7110.

For more information on this release please contact:

Big Lottery Fund Scotland press office
0141 242 1451/1524

Highland and Islands Enterprise Press Office
01463 244244

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 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.
  • 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 different website
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