Funding for rural communities
A further two funding rounds for Rural Priorities will take place in 2009 - one in August and one in November - it has been announced today.
The deadline for completed applications to be assessed in August is June 22 and for November it will be September 21.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead also stated that £10 million will be made available for capital investment through the August funding round to aid Scotland's economic recovery.
The funding round in November will focus on the scheme's 2010 budget and today's confirmation that there will then be a further three rounds in each following year will also give applicants and their advisers certainty in their forward planning.
Rural Priorities is a core part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
Mr Lochhead said:
"Rural Priorities has had a highly successful first year, and in four rounds we have approved £124 million for 1,800 projects in rural Scotland.
"SRDP has a huge role to play in Scotland's economic recovery and the funding delivered so far demonstrates the Scottish Government's commitment to rural Scotland.
"By making £10 million available for the next round we are giving rural businesses - large and small - the chance to start even more projects which will create sustainable rural communities for future generations.
"With that in mind, we will hold two further funding rounds in this calendar year; one in August for 2009 funding; and one in November, which will concentrate on opening up the 2010 budget. The closing date for the August round will be June 22.
"I can also confirm that in the future we intend to hold three funding rounds per calendar year which will give potential applicants a clear timetable for the remainder of the scheme.
"The high number of applications so far shows that Rural Priorities has captured the imagination of rural Scotland and their increasing quality demonstrates that its objectives are widely understood.
"We will, however, continue to listen to concerns and comments from stakeholder groups and individual customers, as well as recommendations from the First Stage Review from Peter Cook which I expect to receive shortly."
To date Rural Priorities has seen the approval of £124.5 million for around 1,800 projects in rural Scotland.