Funding for rural Scotland
Funding of £61.5 million is being awarded to community, business and environmental projects in some of Scotland's most remote rural areas today as part of the latest Rural Priorities funding round.
The funding will help create or safeguard at least 1600 jobs in more than 300 projects across the country, encouraging sustainable economic growth in rural areas.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:
"A diverse range of valuable community, business and environmental projects will benefit in the coming years from the latest awards under our Rural Development Programme.
"The Scottish Government has ensured the maximum amount of funding is available to the widest range of recipients possible in this funding round, despite budget cuts imposed by the UK Government.
"This investment of 61.5 million pounds of Scottish and EU funding will create or safeguard at least 1600 jobs in agricultural businesses and community groups, and help to spark sustainable economic growth in remote rural areas for future generations. It will enhance biodiversity, increase renewable energy and reduce the effects of climate change.
"Hundreds of projects across the country are set to benefit, from a community project to improve Corrieyairack Pass in the Highlands, to a new entrant's farm business development in Drymen and a charity-run organic farm shop near Dumfries.
"We have now held ten Rural Priorities funding rounds in only three years, ploughing over 450 million pounds of awards into our rural communities to kick-start more than 5,650 exciting projects.
"We will soon publish details of a further Rural Priorities round to take place in the autumn. In the meantime we're working in partnership with stakeholders to make sure that funding is targeted where it is needed most.
"I'm confident that Rural Priorities can continue to bring maximum benefit to rural Scotland until the scheme's end in 2013."
A number of high quality applications are being further assessed to ensure they contribute to national outcomes and deliver maximum benefit. As a result, some of the funding for this round is yet to be allocated.
Projects approved in this round:
The Speyside Trust is a small independent charity helping children and adults with learning difficulties and other special needs to enjoy holidays. The Trust uses the Corrieyairack Pass for its main fundraising event, the Corrieyairack Challenge. The pass is the longest remaining section of General Wade's military road in Scotland, and provides a popular recreational access route between the Great Glen at Fort Augustus and Laggan at the edge of the Cairngorms National Park. However, the route has been deteriorating for some years. The Speyside Trust will receive 472,464 pounds in Rural Priorities funding to repair drainage and improve over 20 kilometres of track surface, eliminating ongoing damage from water erosion. The project will help to preserve this important historic site for continued enjoyment by locals and visitors to the area.
Old Manse is a hill farm in Balmaha, near Drymen, with 46 highland cows and a flock of 1,000 blackface sheep. A new entrant to agriculture, who has recently taken over the farm from his father, will receive 93,981 pounds to improve the business. He plans to erect a new farm building, re-roof an existing vernacular building, upgrade the farm road and roadside fencing and install a feed bin and secure diesel tank. The new farmer will also use the funding to take business management training, and to buy a mobile sheep handling system and other machinery to modernise the business, improve efficiency and enhance animal welfare. The funding will lead to overall improvements in the sustainability of his business for the future.
Loch Arthur is an organic dairy cow, sheep and pig farm which sells its produce through a farm shop. The farm is part of Camphill Village Trust, a registered charity which provides a community for more than 70 people with learning difficulties to live and work in near Beeswing, by Dumfries. The charity has outgrown its existing premises, and will receive 382,794 pounds to build a new farm shop including a bakery, café and butchery. The farm shop will enhance the opportunity for residents within the Loch Arthur community to work in a safe and pleasant environment, to meet local people, customers and visitors and to get the chance to interact socially. The project will safeguard ten jobs and create seven new posts.
The tenth round of Rural Priorities funding focused primarily on Axis 1 (business development) and Axis 3 (rural communities and rural enterprise) projects. Some funding will be paid over the course of several years to ensure the projects are properly maintained.
Rural Priorities is a competitive funding mechanism under the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP). It delivers targeted environmental, social and economic benefits to 11 designated regions. The priorities for each region are agreed with local stakeholders, and contracts are awarded for the proposals which are best able to deliver those priorities.