A community group in Morvern, Argyllshire is poised to take control of its local woodland, thanks to a Scottish Land Fund award of £50,250.
Morvern Community Woodlands has managed the Achnaha Wood on the Morvern peninsula since 2004. Thanks to today’s award, they will now purchase the eight hectares of woodland under the National Forest Land Scheme thereby securing its future as an asset for the whole community.
Welcoming the £50,250 award, Sam Firth of Morvern Community Woodlands, said: "The Morvern Community Woodlands Company is delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Scottish Land Fund, which not only enables us to purchase the woodland, but gives us the opportunity to develop its use within the community. Achnaha Community Wood is a wonderful place which is very important to our small community. Bringing this woodland into community ownership will ensure it remains accessible to all for generations to come and will enable us to build on the success we have had managing the woods. We are very grateful to the Scottish Land Fund for giving us this opportunity."
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Aileen McLeod, said: “I am delighted to see this Scottish Land Fund award to Morvern Community Woodlands, which will allow the community to take ownership of the Achnaha Wood on the Morvern peninsula.
“Community ownership will bring benefits to local people including the further development of skills in forestry management, the extension of recreational facilities and the further development of the wood. Morvern Community Woodlands is a great example of how the Scottish Land Fund is making a real difference to communities throughout rural Scotland. Projects like this help fulfil the Scottish Government’s commitment to secure more land into community ownership by 2020.”
Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, added: ““Morvern Community Woodlands has a proven track record of successfully managing Achnaha Wood for the benefit of local people. Ownership of the asset is a logical step for this enterprising community and one which will contribute not only to the sustainability of the woodland for generations to come, but also to the resilience of the community itself. I look forward to hearing about the impact of this Scottish Land Fund grant as the community go on to own, manage and develop this thriving asset.”
The First Minister recently announced the Scottish Land Fund will treble from £3 million this year to £10 million a year from 2016. This will make it easier for communities around Scotland who are interested in owning their land collectively to do so.
- The Scottish Land Fund has £9 million over four years to assist communities in rural Scotland to acquire, develop and manage local land and land assets. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, both of which have extensive experience of helping communities to acquire and develop their assets for over a decade.
The SLF Committee was appointed following the normal procedures for public appointments. Committee members are non remunerated.
- The BIG Lottery Fund distributes lottery funding to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. It also uses its expertise in grant-giving to distribute non-Lottery funding. Full details of the BIG Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk. BIG Lottery Fund Public Enquiries Line call: 0300 123 7110
- Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) delivers the Scottish Government Economic Strategy across more than half of Scotland - from Shetland to Argyll and from the Hebrides to Moray. It aims to support businesses and social enterprises; strengthen communities and fragile areas; develop key sectors, and create the conditions for a competitive and low carbon region. HIE has an annual budget of more than £75m and employs around 300 people in locations around the Highlands and Islands.