Supporting community led action in rural Scotland

Rural Communities
Katharine Johnston

Rural Community groups can now apply for funding to deliver community led solutions in their area, through a newly announced £3m funding pot delivered in partnership with the Scottish Government and Inspiring Scotland.

This will form the second tranche of an £11.6m funding package confirmed in this year’s Scottish budget, to continue to refine and test new approaches to Community Led Local Development. So far £7.8m has been invested by Scottish Government to revitalise the infrastructure of the volunteer LEADER Local Action Groups across Rural Scotland during 22/23.

The fund will build on the lessons learned last year through funding invested to allow community groups to try out good but unproven ideas and test new approaches to delivering CLLD, following the closure of the EU LEADER programme.

Continuing support for capacity building remains a critical issue. Local community development – at least in a comprehensive way across Scotland – has long been challenging, and the issues have been particularly exacerbated by the problems caused by Brexit and the pandemic. However, if local community structures are to thrive, they need support as rural Scotland emerges from the difficulties experienced over the last year.

Announcing the fund, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“Rural communities are driving many of the changes we want to see across Scotland, and this fund will build on the investments made last year which allowed communities to address local challenges and opportunities.

“This is an important investment especially given the consequences of the cost of living crisis, fuel poverty and climate change which are of particular concern for our rural communities.”

“I look forward to seeing the good work continuing in helping our communities and contributing to our common goal of a thriving and resilient rural Scotland.”

Inspiring Scotland, who delivered the £1.8m ‘Rural Communities Ideas into Action’ fund last year, will act as delivery partners for the £3m fund which will have an increased focus on addressing the cost of living crisis and engaging the LAG network in the decision making process.

Inspiring Scotland CEO Celia Tennant said;

“We’re delighted to support The Scottish Government to deliver the Rural and Islands Communities Ideas into Action Fund. 

We know local, grassroots groups are best placed to respond to the needs and opportunities most important to their communities.  We look forward to getting alongside successful applicants and will support them to make meaningful change in their local area.”

You can find more information about the fund and a link to apply at the Inspiring Scotland website.  The deadline for applications is 12 (noon) on Monday 10th of October 2022