The third round of The Scottish Land Fund, a programme designed to support communities to become more resilient and sustainable through land ownership will open on April 1st, announced today by the Scottish Government, HIE and the BIG Lottery Fund.
The new programme, which will run from 2016 until 2020, will see the Scottish Government commit £10 million to the fund in order to help communities across Scotland buy and develop their own land assets.
New for this third round of The Scottish Land Fund, communities in urban areas will be able to apply for funding for the very first time, a move that will align the fund with the requirements of Community Empowerment Act, which aims to extend the Community Right to Buy scheme across the whole of Scotland.
Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform said: “Land is one of our most valuable assets and owning land can help communities realise their aspirations and dreams, make a real difference to long-term sustainability and build stronger, resilient and supportive communities.”
Ailsa Raeburn, head of community assets at HIE said: “The launch of the new Scottish Land Fund will help more local groups across Scotland own and develop land and buildings that are important to them.
“Over the last 50 years, HIE has been a leader in community development across the Highlands and Islands and beyond. We have helped hundreds of groups develop thriving and sustainable projects that have helped contribute to building healthy, flourishing communities. We are very much looking forward to working with the Scottish Government and the Big Lottery Fund in this next round which will see the Fund extended to urban areas for the first time. It will be exciting to see these all of these new ideas come to life.”
The second Scottish Land Fund saw 52 communities across the length and breadth of the country receive £9 million, which has seen over 90,000 acres of community-owned land receive support from programme, benefitting over 71,000 people.
One project that benefitted from the last round of The Scottish Land Fund is The Ecology Centre, a community-based charity located on the banks of Kinghorn Loch in Fife. The group received a grant of £54,901 to secure ownership of five acres of land. Its projects allow people to learn about the natural world and provide volunteering and training opportunities to young people.