A project helping older people to continue living in their own communities is amongst those benefiting from the latest round of awards from the Scottish Land Fund.
Across the country, five community land initiatives are today (28 SEPTEMBER) sharing in funding worth £596,900 that will allow local people to pursue their community ownership ambitions.
Plans to build a new Housing and Care Hub for older people in Lairg, Sutherland, have received a welcome cash boost of £210,000. Lairg and District Community Initiatives will use the funding to purchase the site of the former Sutherland Arms Hotel, as well as the adjoining Old Coach House building in the centre of Lairg, on which the proposed new development will be built.
The new hub plans to address the existing lack of suitable accommodation for older people in the area who otherwise would need to move out of the community to access suitable housing and care. As a multi-purpose community hub, the new development would provide extra care homes, a central space for shared meals and social events, a small fitness suite, treatment rooms available for everyone, and space to provide community services.
Steven Maclean, Chairman of Lairg and District Community Initiatives, said: “This is seriously good news for the people of Lairg, life-changing for some. The land acquisition is fundamental to the delivery of our Care and Well Being Centre and we can now look forward to progressing our plans to bring together the various partners necessary to ensure the optimum care of our elderly, allowing them to remain within the local community amongst friends and family.”
Announcing the funding, John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, said: “I am delighted that older people in some of the most fragile communities will benefit from today’s Scottish Land Fund investment. They are amongst hundreds of people across the country who will now have greater control over their own future, thanks to this funding and the promise of community ownership.”
Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham, said: “The Scottish Land Fund awards are not only good news for the groups involved from across Scotland – they also represent significant progress towards our goal of expanding community ownership and control of key local assets. The five awards announced today brings the number of community groups across Scotland who have successfully applied to the current Scottish Land Fund for help with the cost of purchasing land and/or buildings to 75 and I look forward to further such awards in the future.”
Ailsa Raeburn, Head of Community Assets for HIE, said: “The Scottish Land Fund seeks to create resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and deliver real community involvement. The proposed facilities in Lairg will address a real need within the community to provide excellent care services for the elderly and I look forward to seeing these plans come to fruition.”
Other projects receiving Scottish Land Fund cash today are:
Donside Village Community SCIO
This group will purchase 4.5 acres of land in Tillydrone, Aberdeen, by the River Don, which is currently used by the local community for a range of leisure activities. Once in community ownership, they will improve and develop the area while also encouraging volunteering and training opportunities.
Lochcarron Community Development Company (LCDC)
This group will purchase a plot of land beside the community owned Kirkton Wood in Locharron to create an access road into the woodland. Ownership of the land will also create the opportunity for a new social housing development which will help address the acute lack of affordable housing in the area.
Easthall Residents Association
Award – £65,800
This group will purchase two neglected and derelict areas of land in Easterhouse to create two areas that will provide leisure facilities for outdoor activities including; tennis courts, seven a side football pitch, running track, bike track, adventure play area and outdoor gym.
A Heart for Duns
Award – £206,000
This group will purchase the Volunteer Hall in Duns town centre on behalf of the community. This will empower local people to be involved in its future development and management.
The Scottish Land Fund 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 0300 123 7110.