Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : More cash to rescue Scottish community assets through UK fund [May 2023]

The press release issued by the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland on 12 May 2023.

Even more community projects will be able to apply for UK Government’s expanded £150 million Community Ownership Fund.

More community projects are set to benefit from funding to rescue prized local assets, such as sports clubs, music venues and historic buildings, as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launches the third round of its £150 million Community Ownership Fund today (Friday 12 May).

Changes to the fund will make it easier than ever for community groups to secure local assets that are at risk of being lost forever – helping to strengthen and level up communities.

The amount of funding all projects can bid for will be increasing from £250,000 to £1 million, meaning that groups can bid for more funding to help save bigger projects from being lost.

The requirement for match-funding is also being reduced to as low as 10%, making it easier for communities to acquire assets without raising additional private funding.

For the first time, Scotland’s 1,200 Community Councils will also be able to apply to the Fund, which has previously only been available to charities and community groups.

The fund is already supporting 15 projects across Scotland with £3.1 million, including the UK’s most remote pub in Knoydart, the Lochranza Hotel Country Inn on Arran, Falkirk Rugby Football Club, and Inveraray Pier.

Minister for Levelling Up Dehenna Davison said:

From far-flung pubs to prized community centres, the Community Ownership Fund is putting vital assets back into the hands of communities, to be enjoyed for generations to come.

We want even more communities to benefit from the fund and that’s why we are making these changes so community groups can apply for even more money to save much loved local assets.

We will continue to grow this fund to empower local people, restoring their pride in the places where they live and levelling up communities across the United Kingdom.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said:

I wholeheartedly welcome the launch of the UK Government’s latest round of levelling up funding which so far has seen us invest £2.3 billion right across Scotland.

We’ve listened to feedback and made changes to the Community Ownership Fund (COF) so it is easier than ever for even more communities the length and breadth of the Scottish mainland and our islands to bid for funding to save local assets and grow the economy.

Scotland has already been awarded £3.1 million from COF across 15 projects and I want to see these figures surge upwards by community groups working with us to breathe new life into the places where they live, work and play.

The Fund is already helping communities across Scotland seize ownership of prized local assets that are at risk, including:

  • Dornie Community Hub. £280,000
  • The Old Forge, community owned pub. £219,096.
  • Inveraray Pier. £44,332
  • Langside Sports Club: Clubhouse and Pavilion Renovation.  £100,000
  • Lochranza Country Inn: A community buyout of the last remaining inn in the village.  £300,000.
  • Redevelopment of the New Farm Loch Community Centre.  £200,000
  • New Galloway Town Hall. £175,000
  • Whithorn Town Hall.  £300,000
  • Forres Town Hall. £300,000
  • Rannoch Hub: Establishing a pub and community centre in the Old School.  £250,000
  • The Aberfeldy Sports Club.  £300,000
  • Callander Visitor Information Centre.  £124,843
  • Falkirk Rugby Football and Sports Club, Sunnyside Pavilion. £115,000
  • Heart of Newhaven Community: Develop the old primary school building into a community space. £300,000.
  • Vogrie Hall Refurbishment. £127,251

Further information on these projects can be found on the UK Government’s map of levelling up projects in Scotland.

Director of Rugby Falkirk Rugby Kenny Grieve said:

Our project protects community access to a facility which was at risk of closure and enables us to transform it so that we can offer state-of-the-art changing rooms and a teaching space suitable for both male and female participation. It also provides new medical/physio facilities where we can assess any injuries and a new gym for strength, conditioning, and rehabilitation work.

All of this will be available for other sports groups beyond rugby to use, as well as wider community groups such as our local mental health charity, FDAMH, who can use the facilities to deliver their health, wellbeing and recovery programmes. Access to significant capital funding from the UK Government has been pivotal in turning our vision into reality.

The Old Forge Community Benefit Society said:

We are grateful to the Community Ownership Fund whose support helped The Old Forge Community Benefit Society to achieve its goal of a community-owned pub on the Knoydart Peninsula.

Inspire Inveraray Director Linda Divers said:

Inspire Inveraray are highly delighted to receive this funding. For a long time, the pier has been closed off and an eyesore, to see it open and restored for all to enjoy again will be a great asset to the local community and visitors.

We have all worked extremely hard to make this happen and being awarded this funding makes it worthwhile. Thank you, your funding is greatly appreciated.

Today’s announcement is part of the UK Government’s drive to level up local communities and boost local businesses. This will also contribute to the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.