Another Highland community’s plans for regeneration have taken a step further as Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust (SFCT) became the official owners of 5.5 acres of land, thanks to a successful application to the Scottish Land Fund.
The Scottish Land Fund, delivered in partnership by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Big Lottery Fund Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government helps community groups who are looking to acquire local assets by providing funding and support. After receiving a £28,200 grant from the Fund, SFCT were able to purchase the land, where they plan to develop much-needed local facilities.
An open consultation day held on 3rd March gave members of the surrounding area the chance to meet with SFCT and provide their input on how they would like to see the site being used. Lots of great ideas were put forward which will now be considered by SFCT as it examines how the land can best serve the whole community.
SFCT is already extremely active within the village. They distribute Benefit Funds from nearby wind and hydro energy plants which have already helped several local community groups from the Boleskine lunch club; to parent and toddler groups to Brownies and Guides.
Zoe Iliffe, Chair of Stratherrick & Foyers Community Trust, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that this land now belongs to our community. This will enable us to build on the work we have already been doing to support people in our community and make things happen. Moving forwards, we would very much like to create facilities that would benefit both the young and old and serve as a focal point for everyone.”
The land itself is at Riverside at Foyers on the east side of Loch Ness. Given the layout of the village of Foyers which is split into two settlements, upper and lower, its location on the steep shores of Loch Ness make any development challenging. This 5.5 acres of land was the only suitable land with development potential for community purposes to come on the market for a while so when it did, SFCT leapt at the chance to acquire it.
Ailsa Raeburn, Head of Community Assets at HIE, added “I am delighted that Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust is now the proud owner of land which comes with huge potential to make a real difference to the area. HIE has supported SFCT throughout the process of acquiring the land and I think this is a great example of what can be achieved when a group pulls together. We know from our experience that ownership of land and other assets empowers and strengthens communities, enabling them to generate income, create jobs, provide vital services, and undertake other projects that retain and attract new people to their areas.”
HIE supported the Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust with its application to the Scottish Land Fund for the required £28,200 towards the purchase price of £32,500 for the land. The Trust used its own funds for the remaining balance.