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Community groups benefit from SLF awards

Published: 23/06/2023

Three community projects to create affordable housing in the Highlands and Islands are among eight projects in Scotland to benefit from the latest round of Scottish Land Fund (SLF) approvals.

The SLF is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The latest round of SLF approvals across Scotland, announced this week, total £2,700,202.

An area of land in Argyll will be developed into housing for affordable rent by the Tayvallich Initiative, which received £565,608 to purchase the land as well as to develop environmental initiatives.

Martin Mellor, Chair of Tayvallich Initiative said: "The award from Scottish Land Fund will enable Tayvallich Initiative to move forwards with plans to create affordable housing for rent and to promote the use of Rural Housing Burdens for houses and plots so that more people can live and work in the area. 

“We are happy to be starting off with two rental houses as part of the community project. We hope that this long-term project will encourage a good balance in the area between tourism/holidays alongside an established year-round community. Rural areas need enough affordable housing to keep schools open and the day-to-day economy running, and community-led housing projects can help to facilitate this."

Papay Development Trust in Orkney will acquire two houses on the island of Papay Westray to be offered for affordable rent following a grant of £208,596.

Eday Partnership was awarded £225,380 to acquire a two-bedroom house in Eday for a project to provide affordable housing.

The Great Bernera Community Development Trust in the Isle of Lewis has been awarded £101,447 to acquire the Hatchery building in Kirkibost to develop it into a social enterprise hub.

Sandra Holmes, head of community assets at HIE, said: “The successful projects announced today across Scotland are all great examples of people taking control of local resources for the long-term benefit of their communities. For example, the Great Bernera Community Development Trust in the Isle of Lewis will acquire the former salmon hatchery at Kirkibost to develop into a community-owned social and enterprise hub with space and equipment for businesses, entrepreneurs and the community. The new hub will be an important asset and helps to create a sustainable future for the area.

“All these projects announced today will help retain the population, attract visitors and create jobs. Ownership will give the community groups greater control over important assets that will reap rewards for people now and for generations to come. We wish all the successful groups the very best in their new ventures.”

Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary, Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, said: “The Scottish Land Fund is continuing to help community groups take control of local land and buildings and manage them in a way which benefits people in their neighbourhoods.

“By 2026 the SLF will have doubled to £20 million which will allow more groups to get involved.

“This SLF aims to place the needs of local communities first and it is clear that the most recent recipients live up to this goal. The successful projects will help to create jobs, mitigate climate change, and tackle social isolation and loneliness. I commend them for their efforts so far and wish them all the best in the future.”

Cara Gillespie, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair said: “From supporting rural housing to strengthening urban communities, the Scottish Land Fund continues to empower local people to deliver services that meet their needs. It is about listening to communities and helping them to address their unique local challenges, through ownership of land and buildings.”

Other groups to receive funding in Scotland are:

Kingsbarns Community Development Trust - £590,00 to establish a community hub, which will consist of rooms to let, pub, restaurant, cafe and community shop.

Corstorphine Community Centre (CCC) in Edinburgh - £960,000 to buy Westfield House, which the organisation already uses as a community hub.

Bute Community Land Company - £32,005 to acquire land at Shalunt, Isle of Bute. The group will install a carpark and other infrastructure to improve the accessibility of their community owned Bute Forest.

Evanton Community Trust - £17,166 to purchase land adjacent to the community owned Victoria Diamond Jubilee Hall which will allow them to fundraise to extend the Hall and expand the support they currently provide to the local community.