Seven community projects share in £250k

Leanchoil Trust
Sophie Law

People in seven communities across Scotland are celebrating after they were awarded grants to support a wide range of social enterprises in their local areas. Highland, Moray, Argyll & Bute, East Lothian, and North Ayrshire projects are all set to benefit.

Accommodation for health and social care workers in Arran, better living conditions for veterans in Forres, construction training courses for people in Dunbar, and helping protect a listed building in Canna to help attract more tourists are some of the initiatives that will benefit from the awards.

The Community Capacity Grants are part of Crown Estate Scotland’s Sustainable Communities Fund which, since its launch in 2020, has distributed a total of £970,000 to a wide range of innovative projects across the country.

The latest successful Community Capacity projects, delivered in partnership with Foundation Scotland, are:

  • Arran Development Trust (North Ayrshire) – £48k. Blackwaterfoot Emergency Accommodation project aims to provide 15 prefabricated, energy-efficient rental units for workers in health & social care, education, and hospitality.
  • Assynt Development Trust (Highland) - £50k. Development of proposals for 40 affordable housing units.
  • Isle of Canna Development Trust (Highland) - £30k. Redevelopment of the Coroghan Barn, a listed building, into a multi-use space for events, visitor accommodation, and business use.
  • Sustaining Dunbar (East Lothian) - £12k. A 20MW community solar farm will help provide renewable, low-carbon energy for local people.
  • Tayvallich Community Hall (Argyll & Bute) - £24k. The grant will pay for a Project Manager to support plans for affordable housing aimed specifically at young families and local people.
  • The Ridge SCIO (East Lothian) - £50k. The Empire Close Skills Training Centre will help tackle unemployment by providing construction training courses.
  • Leanchoil Development Trust (Moray) - £35k. This project will provide a range of support services for veterans by developing the historic Leanchoil Hospital in Forres. This will include a new activity centre, including a therapeutic garden, and a long-term initiative to address local health service inequalities.


Jo Lenihan, Development Officer at the Leanchoil Development Trust, said: “Leanchoil Trust is delighted and grateful to receive this generous award from Crown Estate Scotland’s Community Capacity Grants programme. As with many small development trusts, the Leanchoil project relies on the efforts of its dedicated volunteer trustees and one paid employee, so this award will ensure we can progress the community asset transfer of Leanchoil Hospital over the next year.”

Community capacity grants are open to all communities which are located within five miles of Scotland’s coastline, or within five miles of Crown Estate Scotland’s four rural estates, and which are planning community enterprise projects that contribute to local regeneration and sustainable development.

Annie Breaden, Head of Policy for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “The applications we received from across Scotland were both imaginative and of a very high quality and we at Crown Estate Scotland are excited to be supporting such important and positive projects.

“These practical ideas have the potential to make a huge difference to these communities and the people who live in them and visit them, and we look forward with great interest to see how they develop.”

Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, said: “I am pleased to see that the Community Capacity Grants programme is continuing to support such important initiatives across Scotland.

“These projects will significantly benefit their local areas by improving resilience and encouraging economic growth.

“I look forward to seeing the tangible and lasting impact that the initiatives will have on their respective communities.”

Applications for the next round of the Sustainable Communities Fund will open in August 2023.