Community projects get ownership land funds

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Three community ownership projects on Kerrera and Mull are to get a share of £770,255.

The money, which will be split between seven projects countrywide, has come  as part of the latest round of grants from the Scottish Land Fund.

Isle of Kerrera Development Trust will receive £119,167 to convert its former school into a community hub for locals and visitors.

Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) will use its £257,266 award to buy land adjacent its community-owned pontoon at Ulva Ferry and develop a shore facilities building to provide a social meeting space for the community and facilities for visitors. It will have bunk rooms, office rental space, showers, toilets, laundry, car park and campervan hook-ups.

Tobermory Harbour Association has £99,307 to buy the old sawmill, boathouse, pier and slipway at Aros Park on Mull, together with the surrounding land as a springboard towards the regeneration of the area.

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham visited Kerrera on Thursday last week to find out more about the community’s plans with its award share.

She said all the successful projects were to be congratulated and added: ‘The funding award will allow them to act on ambitious plans to give potentially under-utilised buildings and land a better use, to the current and future benefit of their local communities.’

Martin Shields, chairman of the Isle of Kerrera Development Trust, said members cannot wait to get started on the project. ‘We are absolutely over the moon,’ he said.

John Watt, Scottish Land Fund committee chairman, added: ‘Through repurposing vacant buildings, acquiring land in order to build new facilities and enhancing the local environment, groups from the Highlands to the Scottish Borders are using the Scottish Land Fund to realise impressive plans for land and other community assets.

‘Projects like these make a big impact and not just on their local communities, and they also provide inspiration to other groups who are still in the early stages of drawing up plans.’

Moray Finch, general manager of the Mull and Iona Community Trust, said he was convinced, thanks to the funding, its shore facilities building would contribute further to economic development and regeneration of the area ‘and, as such, it is a vital part of our work to help support the local community in Ulva Ferry’.

Steve Littlewood, stakeholder director of Tobermory Harbour Association, said the funding it received would remove ‘any threat of inappropriate private development and opens up an exciting future for a beautiful and historically important area of seafront that had fallen into serious decline’.

The Scottish Land Fund is keen to support more applications. Groups considering applying should contact the Big Lottery Fund to discuss
their idea at advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk or by phoning 0300 123 7110.