A FLAGSHIP scheme that helps communities to take ownership of local land and buildings has received a £1 million funding boost.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon made the announcement during a visit to Granton Community Gardeners Project – a previous recipient of the Scottish Land Fund.

This is administered jointly by the Scottish Government, the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Gougeon said: “Since 2016, hundreds of local groups have benefited from the Scottish Land Fund. It allows people to buy land and buildings in their areas to put the needs of their community first – helping to create jobs, mitigate climate change, and tackle social isolation and loneliness.

“It is only right that those that know what’s best for their area have a say in how local land and buildings are used.”

The fund offers grants of up to £1m, with Gougeon citing the Community Gardeners Project as an example of how it can be put to good use.

The community-led charity based in north Edinburgh helps to create and cultivate community gardens as well as host community meals and events.

“The Granton Community Gardeners have gone from strength to strength since their humble beginnings in 2010”, Gougeon said.

“The project is a prime example of what the power of community action can achieve and the positive impact that the group has had on their local area is inspirational.”

A total of £11m in grants will be available through the Scottish Land Fund in 2023/24 for voluntary, community or public sector organisations to apply for support to buy land or land assets in urban and rural Scotland.

Gougeon said that the increase in funding “will allow even more community groups to realise their ambitions”.

“It is part of our three key missions for Scotland: equality, opportunity and community.

“By 2026, the Scottish Land Fund will have doubled to £20 million and I would encourage any group with ideas about how the land and buildings around them could be improved to get in touch with the Scottish Land Fund.”

The chair of Community Land Scotland Ailsa Raeburn welcomed the news of the funding boost.

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She said: “Communities all across Scotland are ambitious for their local areas. Since its introduction, the Fund has supported people from every type of community to buy land and buildings that are important to making their places better, to protect and develop local services and create new housing and jobs.

“Its increase will allow many more communities to access the Fund to take forward their own projects.”