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Orkney receives £500k from SLF’s latest awards

Published: 10/04/2024

A group of islands in Orkney has received £530,136 for two community purchase projects in the latest round of grants from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF).

The grants are among 11 projects totalling £1,833,622 that have been awarded to communities across Scotland.

Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust has been awarded £267,948 to purchase the Taversoe Hotel in Rousay, the only hospitality venue on all three islands, which they will operate as a hotel, pub, restaurant and community space. The hotel will also serve as a year-round gathering place for the community, helping to combat rural isolation.

Meanwhile the Trust will use the second award of £262,188 to purchase a Manse in Rousay, from the Church of Scotland to convert it into three separate housing units that will be available for affordable rent.

The SLF reopened to applications in April 2021. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the National Lottery Community 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.

Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary, Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, said: “Over one million people across Scotland now live in communities where assets have been acquired with funding from the Scottish Land Fund. This is a remarkable milestone and displays just how large an impact the Fund has had on communities across Scotland.

“Community ownership is an effective way to revitalise local areas and improve the lives of residents. The latest recipients are no exception and I know that their projects will bring countless benefits to their communities.

“I’d like to congratulate the groups involved and I look forward to seeing their projects and their communities flourish as a result.”

Stuart Williams, manager,  Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust, said: “The funding secured from the Scottish Land Fund for the community to acquire the only pub, hotel and eatery on our island signifies a significant milestone for our community. This vital investment ensures the preservation of a cherished gathering place and economic hub, fostering local pride and sustaining social connectivity. It bolsters our resilience and ensures that the popular establishment remains a cornerstone of island life for generations to come.

“In addition, the funding to purchase the Old Manse allows us to progress our social housing project and represents a transformative opportunity for our community. It will provide much-needed affordable housing options, fostering inclusivity and enhancing the quality of life for residents. This investment will strengthen community resilience and contribute to the long-term sustainability and vibrancy of our islands.”

Cara Gillespie, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, said: “Like all the groups that have been successful in this round of funding, Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust will use their awards to make purchases that will directly improve the lives of people in their community. Targeted funding such as this gets right to the heart of local issues.”

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. Through the purchase of land and properties including a community hall and a former church, groups will be in a position to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to the community. These latest awards will further strengthen the sense of community and empowerment.”

“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.”

Other groups receiving funding are:

Wigtown and Bladnoch Community Initiative

Award - £88,474

Wigtown and Bladnoch Community Initiative (WBCI) will acquire a former Church Hall in Wigtown. The acquisition will bring social benefits by providing space for meetings, classes and skill sharing workshops, as well as exercise, entertainment, and health & wellbeing activities. Alongside the social benefits, opportunities for digital access will also enable employment and enterprise skills.

Gracemount Mansion Development Trust

Award - £167,340

Gracemount Mansion Development Trust (GMDT) will purchase Gracemount Mansion in Gracemount, Edinburgh to redevelop and reopen the asset as a community hub.

Tighnabruaich District Development Trust

Award - £61,443

Tighnabruaich District Development Trust (TDDT) will purchase 2 retail units in Tighnabruaich, Argyll and Bute. The group will continue to use one of the units as the location for their heritage centre and will rent out the second unit.

Cockenzie House and Garden

Award - £227,400

Cockenzie House and Gardens will acquire the Cockenzie & Port Seton Old Parish Church and Hall, in East Lothian, and will use the asset as a community hub, offering community space for groups to meet, social activities, pop-up hospitality and childcare provision.

Dunvegan Community Trust SCIO

Award - £361,096

Dunvegan Development Trust will acquire a building known locally as the ‘Gaeltec Building’ in Dunvegan, Syke from a private business. The group will develop the asset into an energy efficient, multi-use commercial and community hub that includes office space, a gym and  childcare facilities to address a range of community needs in a remote, rural community.

Toryglen Community Hall

Award - £171,272

Toryglen Community Hall (TCH) will acquire the building in Glasgow that they’ve occupied for 35 years. Community ownership will provide security enabling TCH to improve and extend the building thus, continuing to provide activities aimed at a range 

of groups.

Bailliefields Community Hub SCIO

Award - £27,500

Bailliefields Community Hub will purchase a small area of land adjacent to the boundary of their existing Community Hub. Acquisition will allow the group to extend existing walking/cycling routes and increase local walking access with a focus on active travel.

Raasay Development Trust

Award - £99,961

Raasay Development Trust will acquire an empty 2-bedroom house in Inverarish on the Isle of Raasay. The group will renovate the house to create affordable rented accommodation for the community.

North Yell Development Council

Award - £99,000

North Yell Development Council will acquire the units 3-4 at Sellafirth Business Park, North Yell, Shetland. The group will use the premises to provide a multi-use office, heritage, events and training space which will be used by local agencies, individuals and community groups.

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