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Great News For Ambitious Project In Shapinsay

An area of land on Shapinsay, Orkney is set to be developed into a community hub, following a grant of £92,510 from the Scottish Land Fund.

The land at Balfour, which will be purchased by the Shapinsay Development Trust, also has potential for social housing, self-build plot and an enterprise zone for local businesses.

Davie Campbell, Project Manager, Shapinsay Development Trust, said: 

‘We are delighted to receive this support from the Scottish Land Fund. This funding will allow the Trust to own and create a vital multi-purpose facility that includes all the elements within the 5-year development plan, which was shaped by the community.

“This is a result of strong community support and hard work from the Trust’s board and their staff’. It is an ambitious and exciting project for Shapinsay and hopefully can act as a blueprint for other communities in Orkney’’.

Balfour Castle, Shapinsay from the Point of Work. Image credit: Martin Laird

The Shapinsay project is one of three awards made this month by the Scottish Land Fund that will allow groups to purchase local assets and to use them for the benefit of their communities.

The other grants include Ceres Community Cafe in Fife, which has been awarded £56,042 to purchase the building that the Village Cafe has leased since 2018, allowing them to carry out repairs and expand the support they already provide to the local community.

Karen Young, Director, Ceres Community Cafe, said:

“We are delighted to receive vital funding from the Scottish Land Fund which will help us to secure the future of our community cafe. It will enable us to develop the café into an even greater community hub, and to ultimately benefit the community in every way we can”.

And Aultbea Community Hub has received £99,460, allowing them to buy Aultbea Church, which they use as a community facility and to provide a range of community support activities and services, with a focus of wellbeing, arts, and entertainment.

Roger Kendall, Treasurer and Trustee, Aultbea Community Hub said:

“We are extremely grateful to be awarded this grant as it enables us to retain a significant local building in community ownership. We can now turn our attention to long-term plans to re-purpose and modernise this underused building, whilst also giving security of tenure to Aultbea Men’s Shed and the Royal Mail Sorting Office but still allowing the continuation of church services.

“This Hub can become a unique meeting place in a repurposed building in our community for the foreseeable future.

Mairi McAllan, is the Minister of  Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform in the Scottish Government .

She said: “The Scottish Land Fund is a key instrument that communities can use to take ownership over local assets. It is only right that those that know what’s best for their area have a say in how local land and buildings are used – and the fund is allowing communities to do this.

 “We want more local community groups to get involved, which is why by 2026 the Scottish Land Fund will be doubled to £20 million which will allow us to empower even more local communities across Scotland.

“I would like to congratulate the latest recipients of the Fund and I look forward to seeing the positive benefits that the new projects will undoubtably provide for their local areas.”

Shapinsay Ferry credit K Armet

Cara Gillespie, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair commented

“The Scottish Land Fund is committed to backing projects on the ground and each one of these grants will allow the groups involved to provide much-needed local resources that will help to strengthen their communities.”

In total £248,012 will go to the three projects in Scotland

And Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at Highlands, and Islands Enterprise (HIE) added:

“The successful projects announced today across Scotland are all great examples of people taking control of local resources for the long-term benefit of their communities. For example, the Shapinsay Development Trust, through the purchase of the land at Balfour, will now be in a position to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits to the community through the provision of housing, business and community space and a community garden. This latest award for the group will further strengthen the sense of community and empowerment on the island.

“All these projects announced today will help retain the population, attract visitors, and create jobs. Ownership will give the community groups greater control over important assets that will reap rewards for people now and for generations to come. We wish all the successful groups the very best in their new ventures.”

Sunrise over Shapinsay Image credit Bell

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