£1 million Scottish Land Fund boost for local communities

28 Jun 2017 01:06 PM

Seven local communities in different parts of Scotland will soon be reaping the rewards of community ownership, thanks to a Scottish Land Fund investment of over £1 million announced yesterday (WED 28 JUNE).

Based in Aberdeen, Argyll and Bute, East Lothian, Fife, Highlands, Stirling and Western Isles, they are celebrating a share of £1,018,776 for community land initiatives that will empower them to take greater control of their own futures.

Amongst the successful groups is Mid Argyll Youth Development Services (MAYDS), a charity which provides young people under 25 with a range of services including training, youth clubs, drop-ins, cyber cafe, trips, community cinema and much more. Thanks to their Scottish Land Fund grant of £155,118, they will be able to purchase their current building from which they operate, as well as two adjoining pieces of land which will allow them to expand their operations.

MAYDS Manager, Fiona Kalache, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this Scottish Land Fund award.   This opportunity will not only provide a secure future for children and young people's services in Mid Argyll but will also allow us to develop and expand the opportunities we can provide including much needed outdoor spaces such as a wheel park, play space and gardening area. We would like to thank all those people and organisations who have supported us thus far and we look forward to working with the local community to develop the next stage of the project.”

Meanwhile in East Lothian, plans are afoot to create a brand new multi-use community facility for the people of Tranent and beyond. Thanks to a Scottish Land Fund award of £56,100, the Fraser Centre Community Trust will purchase The Fraser Centre in Tranent town centre, which will be demolished and replaced with a new facility providing a cinema/theatre space, café, meeting rooms and office spaces for a range of community and enterprising activities.

David Orr, Project & Development Manager, said: "The Fraser Centre Community Trust would like to thank the Scottish Land Fund for this generous award. This is a major step in our project which will allow us to purchase the property and rebuild it into a modern, accessible community hub for learning, development, arts and entertainment."

Proving the smallest amount of Scottish Land Fund money can often make the biggest difference is Dunbog Community Hall in Fife. They will use their £31,500 award to purchase two acres of land adjacent to the community hall, next to Dunbog Primary School, which will be used to bring generations together to enjoy a range of fun and healthy activities.

Philip Todd, Chairman of the Board of Dunbog Community Hall, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to hear that our application has been successful.  The idea has been running for a number of years but it was not until we became aware of the Scottish Land Fund, who could help us with buying the actual land, that we have been able to progress the venture. Thanks to this funding, we will now be able to develop the site and create our Community Park, which will include a seven aside football pitch, a play area, picnic tables and a BBQ point, a running track, a wooded area and additional car parking.”

Announcing the awards, John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Chair, yesterday said: “The Scottish Land Fund is designed to support a diverse range of community land initiatives reflecting the real issues at the heart of local communities. Today’s successful projects from many different parts of Scotland are all great examples of people taking control of local resources for the long term benefit of their communities. Whether you are a young person in Argyll and Bute or a family living in Fife, these awards will touch the lives of hundreds of people and many communities.”

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham, said: “These local groups from all over Scotland have taken the opportunity to take control of their own futures by acquiring assets that will make a real difference in their communities. The continued support from the Scottish Land Fund clearly shows the Scottish Government’s commitment to empowering communities throughout Scotland. These local groups should be applauded for the hard work they have put in and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Ailsa Raeburn, Head of Community Assets for HIE, yesterday said: “From village shops to forests, communities are taking control of their own future by bringing into their ownership key buildings and sites. We are always amazed at the creativity and drive communities show in identifying needs in their area and looking to see how owning locally important land and buildings can help address those needs. It is encouraging to see so many groups today receiving support from the Scottish Land Fund and I wish them all well.”

Other projects that received Scottish Land Fund awards yesterday were:

Bannockburn House, Stirlingshire
Receives £648,300 to purchase the historic Bannockburn House and associated grounds extending to some 25 acres situated just outside the small town of Bannockburn, Stirlingshire.  
This will secure the house to provide a focal point for the community and a base for new employment and volunteering opportunities, as well as community events and activities.

The Carloway Community Association, Western Isles
Receives £74,758 to purchase the former Carloway Primary School and associated land situated at Knock, Carloway. The grant will also be used to help develop the building as a Rural Life Centre including a community shop, ATM and post office, as well as a space for new enterprises to grow.

Fittie Community Development Trust, Aberdeen
Receives £53,000 to purchase the former Gospel Hall in Footdee, Aberdeen, which will be revived to create a thriving community owned facility.

North Sutherland Community Forest Trust, Highlands
Receives £47,500 to purchase Forsinain Wood in Sutherland on behalf of the local community. The purchase, made under the National Forest Land Scheme, will allow the Trust to manage the 35 hectares of woodland as a community asset.

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 advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk or by phoning 0300 123 7110.

For more information on this release please contact

Big Lottery Fund Scotland press office
0141 242 1524

Highland and Islands Enterprise Press Office
01463 244244

Notes to Editors