Highland estate buy-outs go urban as historic deal is signed
The concept of “Highland estate buy-outs” went urban today with the sealing of a £50 million deal on the Clyde in the heart of Glasgow.
The Big Lottery Fund’s Growing Community Assets (GCA) succeeds the Scottish Land Fund, which closed earlier this year, after famously distributing £15 million to help rural communities acquire, manage and develop land. The £50 million GCA cash will be available for both rural and urban communities.
The £3.9 million contract to deliver the GCA programme over the next three years has been awarded to the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) consortium, which includes CEiS (Community Enterprise in Strathclyde); Forth Sector; Social Investment Scotland; the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company (HICEC); and Scottish Enterprise. The consortium will work on application development, support and post award monitoring to ensure that GCA achieves its many aims between now and March 2009. The Big Lottery Fund Scotland committee will make the decisions on all grants.
Final contracts will be signed today by Big Lottery Fund Scotland Director, Dharmendra Kanani and HIE’s Head of Community Land Unit, Andrew Anderson. The ceremony is taking place aboard the Orcuan, a traditional Scottish boat built by the Galgael Trust in Govan. The Galgael vessel is being used for the signing to symbolise the connection between rural and urban Scotland. Galgael aims to reconnect urban Scots with the Highland culture of their forebears.
Dharmendra Kanani, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Director, said: “Through GCA the Big Lottery Fund wants to enable local communities to acquire assets that will help them become stronger and more sustainable. This funding will provide Scottish communities with the means to seize other opportunities and realise their own potential.
“Working with the HIE-led consortium means that we have teamed up with organisations which are expert in this field and will be able to make excellent assessments of all applications. More importantly it means that we can provide support for groups in both urban and rural areas to plan for, manage and deliver their projects.”
He continued: “GCA is about delivering high quality services and amenities that will transform and energise local communities. We want to translate the success of Gigha, North Harris and the community owned care home in Killin, which were all funded through the Scottish Land Fund, to communities across Scotland.”
Andrew Anderson, Head of HIE’s Community Land Unit, said: ‘I am delighted that the HIE-led consortium has been awarded this contract. It’s a credit to the reputation of this organisation that we have been chosen to distribute assistance to communities to buy assets, not only in rural areas but also to urban and inner city projects.
‘We look forward to working with our delivery partners, Community Enterprise in Strathclyde; Forth Sector, Social Investment Scotland, HICEC and Scottish Enterprise.
‘Between us we share a dynamic goal with the people of Scotland to develop the community ownership of a wide range of assets which will create sustainable and substantial benefits in communities ranging from the Highlands and Islands to our largest cities.’