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Cta Man
Shieldaig Village


Growing development opportunities.

Creating opportunities in rural communities

Crofting is a form of land tenure, unique to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which forms a vital part of our regional economy.

As well as the strong links from agriculture to other key sectors in the rural economy, most notably tourism, food and drink, crofters often play a central role in managing assets for the benefit of the whole community. Our role is to unlock the potential of rural communities and help create a strong, diverse and sustainable economy where quality of life is matched by quality of opportunity.

We work with partners who support individual crofters and crofting activity. They include the Crofting Commission, Scottish Government (in particular the Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate), Business Gateway, Registers of Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

For crofting communities developing community energy plans, partners include the Scottish Government, Scottish Investment Bank (REIF), Local Energy Scotland (CARES) and Community Energy Scotland.

The administration of crofting grants for individual crofters will be delivered directly by the Scottish Government through the SRDP including the Croft House Grant.

Polycrub in Shetland

The Rural Food Tourism Places Project

Our area is part of a pilot project which is looking at the diversification opportunities for farmers and crofters working with tourism and food and drink businesses.

There are opportunities to develop new products and services or even creating new businesses, potentially in partnership with others.

Following consultation with local communities, crofts, farms and businesses, pilot working cohorts have been established in two rural areas; one in Northmavine, Shetland and one in the Outer Hebrides causeway connected islands from Berneray to Eriskay (including N and S Uist, Grimsay and Benbecula).

Facilitators are supporting the cohorts, each have a good mix of attendees, and others in the areas are always welcome to join. Meetings will be designed to fit around the rural calendar and tourist season.

Find out more on the project website


Woodland crofts

The Crofting Reform Act 2007 introduced the ability for new crofts to be created and for crofts to be put to a 'purposeful use' other than cultivation. It’s now possible to create crofts from existing woodlands and create business opportunities.

Find out more about creating woodland crofts

Crofting community right to buy

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives crofting communities the right to acquire and control the croft land where they live and work, and to acquire the interest of the tenant in tenanted land.

Crofting Community Right to Buy
People planting trees
Cows in a field

Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme

This well established programme is for farmers, crofters, rural business managers, or employees in rural businesses who want to develop skills and ideas to grow their business, and do something positive for the rural sector.

Places are available for 60 participants from across Scotland, 15 from the Highlands and Islands, every Autumn.  

Those coming on board join a network of 550 previous programme graduates.

As well as one to one business support, leadership coaching and strategy training, trips to Edinburgh, London and Brussels parliaments provide first-hand insight into the workings of those responsible for rural policy and laws.

One of the greatest benefits is associated with the networking between ‘rural leaders’, present, past and future. 

We support the programme in partnership with Scottish Enterprise. It's delivered by Scotland’s Rural College specialists SAC Consulting.

Find out more on the programme website


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