Communities urged to apply for £10m Scottish Land Fund
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has urged communities to make the most of the opportunity to own and manage land and other shared assets.
The £10 million Scottish Land Fund initiative supports communities in both urban and rural areas to buy their own land and other assets.
Ms Cunningham made the call during a visit to Silverburn Village Hall in Midlothian.
The hall was previously an old water tank building which was purchased and converted into a community space by local residents in 2006.
Ms Cunningham said: “Land reform is about opportunity. It supports and revitalises local areas by providing more opportunities for local people to have a say in decisions about land which affect them.
“Many communities have already successfully taken ownership of local land and assets, such as the village hall here in Silverburn. I want more people to make the most of community right to buy opportunities, which is why the Scottish Government increased the Scottish Land Fund to £10m per year.
“It is now open for applications from both urban and rural communities, and I urge local groups to apply.”
Roger Hill, chair of Silverburn Community Ltd, added: “Acquiring the old Chisholm Tank building and turning it into a much-needed village hall has enhanced the enjoyment of being part of the Silverburn Community. It is used almost every day, for everything from pipe band rehearsals to yoga classes to coffee mornings. The surrounding gardens provide a very pleasant centre to the village and provide a tranquil area for relaxation as well as a safe play area for the community children. The hall brings together people from the village and the surrounding communities, both young and old.
“I would say to any other communities considering a local buy-out that they should be prepared to put in a huge amount of time and effort to sort all the paperwork, secure the necessary funding and complete the legal process – but it is absolutely worth it in the end.”