Our priorities

Strengthening communities and fragile areas

The Highlands and Islands is recognised as a region where communities take responsibility for shaping their future, where social enterprise as a sector is innovative, strong and growing, where community asset ownership and service delivery are well established and supported, and where unique cultural assets, including Gaelic, play a significant role in creating vibrant, strong communities.

Supporting communities to develop and grow is a central focus for us. Our approach to strengthening communities is threefold:

  • We invest in building community capacity and confidence
  • We empower communities to acquire, manage and exploit community assets for community benefit
  • We enable sustainable growth in the social economy through strong social enterprises.

Creating resilient rural communities will be informed by legislative changes such as the Community Empowerment Bill and the Land Reform agenda.

Delivering national programmes on behalf of the Scottish Government across Scotland is integrated with our Strengthening Communities priority. Community Broadband Scotland brings support to communities to secure digital connectivity, and the Scottish Land Fund, which we deliver in partnership with the BIG Lottery Fund, will create more community-owned assets. Collectively, these programmes underpin the ability of communities to develop and grow.

Building our future 2016-19 we will:

  • Deliver an annual increase in turnover in the social economy of £3.0-45m
  • Support 40-60 new/improved services and income generating assets delivered by assisted communities
  • Support land asset purchases bringing further acreage into community ownership
  • Support investment in community assets to deliver income generating opportunities including renewable energy
  • Ensure communities across remote rural Scotland have access to next generation broadband
  • Support social entrepreneurs to further develop leadership and business skills
  • Support crofting communities to implement growth and diversification plans
  • Maximise the economic and social impacts of the Gaelic language
  • Identify and develop strategic cultural projects with the potential to generate significant new economic and social impacts.

Find out more about our support for communities > 

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