Central Belt communities to take ownership of local land and buildings

Kinning Park Complex SCIO celebrates the funding boost

Community groups in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and Stirling are set to take ownership of local land and buildings, following a significant funding boost from the Scottish Land Fund.

A £800,000 windfall will be shared to allow the groups to take greater control of their own futures through the ownership of local land and buildings.

In Glasgow, the Kinning Park Complex, a community hub popular with local groups, artists and musicians, will transfer into the hands of local people, thanks an award of £197,650. Kinning Park Complex SCIO will use the funding to purchase the building, which they currently lease, as well as an adjacent former nursery building, allowing them to renovate and extend the space available for future activities and services.

Martin Avila, development director, Kinning Park Complex SCIO, said: “This grant is huge for our community, it means that we can start planning for our future and the next 100 years of our building as a centre of community and education. We hope this is the first step on a path that will see us secure the funds to renovate and expand our building to make it more accessible, welcoming, practical and sustainable.”

A busy Shotts community centre, once at risk of closure, will be brought into community ownership after Getting Better Together Ltd (GBT) received £42,965 to buy the Springhill Community Centre and nearby land.

June Vallance, executive manager, Getting Better Together Ltd, said: “We are delighted to receive the news that our Scottish Land Fund application had been successful. This means so much to the local community who are so enthusiastic about making new plans for the future of the area. Having ownership of the hall and the surrounding land will give them lots of opportunities for planning new services in the area. This is fabulous news.”

In and around Stirling, two separate community woodland projects will create new employment, volunteering and recreational opportunities for local people.

An area of historical significance, The Gillies Hill played a significant part in Robert the Bruce’s descent onto the field of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Thanks to an award of £425,750, the Cambusbarron Community Development Trust (CCDT) will purchase the woodland areas of The Gillies Hill to develop it for people now, and future generations, to enjoy.

Richard Norman, trustee of CCDT, said: “This award is greatly appreciated – It offers us the prospect of establishing and maintaining a great resource on the doorstep of Cambusbarron and Stirling. Land that is much loved and used by the community will be secured as a sustainable social and environmental space under the management of people with local interests at heart.”

Valley Renewables Group (VRG), the development trust for the Carron Valley and District Community, with an award of £130,000, will purchase 53 acres of woodland in the Carron Valley Forest.

Margaret Porter of VRG said: “This will create a much needed focal point for our community, facilitating a range of outdoor events and activities. It will be our first community owned asset, creating volunteer, up-skilling and employment opportunities. We’ll be working to provide improved access to the forest, a sustainable supply of community wood fuel, and an increased range of habitats for local people and visitors to enjoy. For the future, the land includes a site for a permanent community facility. Exciting times.”

Announcing the awards, John Watt, Scottish Land Fund committee chair, said: “Today’s funding will help four community groups in Scotland’s central belt to take control of locally important land and buildings. As a committee, we were impressed by the drive, enthusiasm and dedication of the people behind these projects who are taking innovative steps to ensure that their community assets are safeguarded for the future. I wish each group every success as they take forward their community ownership plans.”

Minister, cabinet secretary for land reform, Roseanna Cunningham, added: “It’s great to see these community groups taking the initiative and putting together some terrific projects, which will see local buildings and areas repurposed to create lasting and tangible improvements to their local communities. Through the Scottish Land Fund, the Scottish Government is again enabling communities throughout Scotland to unlock the potential of their land and buildings.”

Sandra Holmes, head of community assets at HIE, said: “The latest round of awards from the Scottish Land Fund will help these groups bring important land, buildings and services into community ownership. Acquiring these will give communities the resources and control they need to deliver exciting projects for the benefit of people living and visiting their areas. We wish them all the very best in their new ventures.”

The Scottish Land Fund, funded by the Scottish Government is keen to support more applications from across Scotland and particularly within urban areas. Groups considering applying should contact the Big Lottery Fund to discuss their idea at advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk or by phoning 0300 123 7110.

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