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Scottish Land Fund puts local communities in control

12 February 2014

A community group in Beauly, Inverness-shire is poised to complete its five year bid to take control of a local woodland, thanks to a Scottish Land Fund award of £221,000.

Aigas Community Forest is one of nine groups in Scotland today (12 FEBRUARY) sharing in grants worth £927,693 which will also see important local assets such as a petrol station, post office and local plots of land brought into community ownership.

Announcing the funding, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “Each of today’s successful projects reflect the innovative steps local people are taking to address problems or challenges in their own areas. Whether it’s helping a community to take control of an important forestry asset or securing the future of a local post office, they will all tackle real issues facing some of Scotland’s most fragile communities. The quality of projects developed by communities has been consistently impressive, and I am delighted that the Scottish Land Fund has once again been able to step in to help local people realise their aspirations for community ownership.”

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The awards of these grants to communities the length and breadth of Scotland will help people to take control of land for the benefit of their local communities. 

“I am delighted to see the diversity of projects that are coming forward and are being supported by the Scottish Land Fund. The grants are for projects ranging from establishment of a community forestry project, the purchase of a community’s petrol filling station, the taking on ownership of a community’s local retail facilities and land to expand community facilities, among other projects.  These projects are all examples that demonstrate the foresight and determination that communities are showing to take control of their own futures with support from the Scottish Land Fund. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting rural communities throughout Scotland so that communities can take control of local land and land assets and we look forward to helping further communities to fulfil their aspirations, as we seek to double the area of land in community ownership by 2020. 

“I wish all the groups well in their endeavours to make their communities better places to live in, work in and enjoy.”  

Aigas Community Forest will use its £221,000 award to purchase part of the Aigas Forest, which is adjacent to Crask of Aigas, Beauly, Inverness-shire.  They will also lease the remaining area of commercial woodland, bringing the whole forest into community control. The group plan to develop the forest to create economic and social benefits for the local community.

Andrew Leaver, Secretary of Aigas Community Forest, said: “All of us at Aigas Community Forest are delighted that the Scottish Land Fund has recognised the value of our project with this grant.  It's been a long, and at times dispiriting, five years to get to this stage but I hope that we can act as an example to other groups that sticking with your project is worth every ounce of effort involved.  Thank you to the Scottish Land Fund and to everyone else who has supported us to date and who will support us in the future.”

Mull and Iona Community Trust, in partnership with Ulva School Community Association, receives £139,120 to purchase an area of land at Ulva Ferry, on the Isle of Mull. The group have been exploring ideas for development with new affordable housing identified as a local priority.

Helen Mackay, Convenor of Ulva School Community Association, said: “This award is fantastic news. Affordable housing was the highest priority identified in our community planning consultation. In an area with very few houses to let, lack of affordable accommodation has been badly affecting the ability of young folk with families to live and work here. The whole community, with the school at its heart, has been suffering. Financial assistance from the Scottish Land Fund means our plan to build two new homes to offer to families can now be realised. Two new homes may not seem much to some, but will make a huge difference to this area's future. We can't wait to get started!"

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.

Other Scottish Land Fund groups receiving funding today are:

Blairmore Village Trust Community Interest Company 
Award: £78,180
This group will purchase three main plots of land within the village of Blairmore, Kilmun to develop tourism opportunities, community amenities and business support facilities.

Agnes Harvey, Chair of the Blairmore Village Trust, said: “We are delighted with the news of our award which will have a major impact on the local community.  The project will really help to bring the community together in designing the use of the space and developing a sustainable future for our community.  It is excellent news and will really help to develop this rural location for residents and visitors to the area."

Kinghorn Community Land Association
Award: £103,390
This group will purchase three plots of land at Kinghorn Loch, Kinghorn to be developed as a multi faith community woodland burial site and community orchard.

Richard Brewster, Chairman of Kinghorn Community Land Association, said: “This grant means so much to the community of Kinghorn and people who frequent Kinghorn Loch. Not only will we be able to secure land to safeguard the future of the Ecology Centre, we can also take forward plans to establish a multi faith community woodland cemetery and community orchard. Kinghorn Loch is an area of great natural beauty and attracting visitors from far and wide, but some of the adjacent land has been left derelict for the last ten years. This funding can help the process of re-generation and puts decisions on how land is managed back into the hands of the community.”

The Ecology Centre
Award: £54,901
This group will purchase a plot of land at Kinghorn Loch, Kinghorn to build a  new purpose-built centre which will safeguard local jobs.

Welcoming its award of £54,901, Julie Samuel General Manger of the Ecology Centre, said: “The Ecology Centre has been battling for many, many years to secure a permanent site. This is therefore extremely exciting news for our staff, our volunteers and our community. Buying the land will secure a payment site. This is therefore extremely exciting news for our staff, our volunteers and our community. Buying the land will enable us to secure jobs, help more young people into work, deliver environmental education and offer volunteer opportunities.  The grant will make a significant difference.”

Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust
Award: £144,512
This group will purchase Bonar Bridge Post Office and sorting offices and the associated flat and garden ground to maintain access to a vital local service in this remote rural area.

Pete Campbell, Chairman, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, said: “Today is a historic day for this area and for our Trust. The award from the Scottish Land Fund will allow us to purchase the post office in Bonar Bridge so as to safeguard it for the future. It will allow continued provision of the current services for people living in the Kyle of Sutherland. The community from the outset has shown its faith in the Trust and this is the very best result.”

West Glenmoriston Community Company
Award: £95,360
This group will purchase the former primary school building and grounds situated in the village of Dalchreichart, Glenmoriston, Inverness-shire and develop it as a community hub.

Adam Philip, Chair, West Glenmoriston Community Company, said: “The community of West Glenmoriston will be delighted with the good news that the Scottish Land Fund has awarded funding for the first phase of our project, the acquisition of the Old School, Dalchreichart, as well as Project Manager costs for two years.

“At present, there are no local services here. It is planned for this community facility to be developed into a centre catering for all the residents, and visitors to, this remote rural area, supporting local tourism businesses and providing potential opportunities for employment.”

South Islay Development
Award: £50,000
This group wish to purchase a local petrol station in Port Ellen, on the Isle of Islay, Argyll to ensure the future of this essential rural business.

A spokesperson from South Islay Development, said: “We are very keen to pursue the purchase of the Filling Station as a key asset that would benefit the whole community. We are delighted to receive this support from the Scottish Land Fund, without which the proposed project would not be possible.”

Rachael McCormack, Director of Strengthening Communities at HIE, commented: "We are delighted at the announcement of these awards by the Scottish Land Fund which will assist communities across Scotland drive forward lasting change and take control of their own futures. In addition to these grants, HIE is also supporting the plans of South Islay Development with an additional £17,500. A young and vibrant group, its members have proven themselves to be extremely ambitious. They are also a good example of a team of dedicated individuals taking a fresh approach to community-led development. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they establish their plans to create a powerful and transformational impact in South Islay through community ownership.”

Kintyre Recycling Ltd
Award - £41,230
This group will purchase an area of land on the outskirts of Campbeltown, Argyll where they will relocate to in order to expand, diversify and create additional employment opportunities. 

Amanda Card, Business Manager, Kintyre Recycling, said: “This Scottish Land Fund award will enable us to build on the community support from over the past 20 years during which we have been providing recycling services and employment opportunities for people with additional needs in the Kintyre area. We will be able to develop new premises and in doing so will support the continuation of 22 jobs, as well as taking forward plans to create a further six jobs including employability placements. We are grateful to the Scottish Land Fund for investing in our    growth and 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 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

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