£20 million rural boost
New farming entrants will benefit from a £5 million boost as part of the latest round of Rural Priorities funding, worth more than £20 million in total.
This support will protect and create around 1,200 jobs across Scotland and brings the total amount distributed through the scheme to almost £550 million since it was launched in 2008.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“This latest round of more than £20 million of Rural Priorities funding will provide much-needed support to rural and community enterprises and businesses across rural Scotland.
“This investment will safeguard and create around 1,200 jobs in 11 regions across Scotland, vital to sustaining our rural economy. The funding will support a wide variety of projects from investing in a new entrant farmer’s sheep milking business in South Lanarkshire to developing an improved path network at the Callanish stone circle in the Isle of Lewis.
“I am also delighted that almost £5 million of this funding is targeted at supporting new entrants to farming, a key priority which the Government has outlined to enhance the future of Scottish agriculture. A further £11 million of the total will support climate change targets, one of our national outcomes, which will also help improve the viability of existing farming businesses.
“Over the past five years, Rural Priorities has delivered an impressive £548 million worth of Scottish Government and EU funding into thousands of projects, resulting in a diverse range of benefits to rural Scotland, while stimulating business activity and supporting the economy.
”This vital funding under the Scotland Rural Development Programme will continue to deliver wider economic and environmental benefits to local communities for many years to come.”
The Scottish Government and European Union funding covers part of the cost of individual projects, with the remainder coming from the applicants – a healthy sign that rural businesses and community groups are investing in their future.
Projects approved in this round include:
A&S Cairns of Walston Braehead farm, Carnwath, has been awarded £100,000 towards investment in a new herringbone sheep milking parlour, sheep building and feed storage. This grant will allow a 25 per cent expansion of the sheep milking flock to meet increasing demand from a local cheese maker and secure the new entrant’s future in agriculture. The funding will also provide six months of slurry storage facilities, while securing two permanent and two temporary jobs.
Breasclete Community Association, Uig, Isle of Lewis, has been awarded £145,194 to create a new path network connecting local villages, school and the visitor centre for Callanish stone circle. This multi-use pathway will provide a safe, dedicated and improved route for both the local community and visitors to the popular tourist attraction.
Ring Farm, Cupar, Fife, has been awarded £159,550 to diversify into tourist accommodation on the existing farm. The project will provide accommodation for short-term holiday let in two adjacent houses and includes accessible apartments to allow disabled visitors to stay with their families/carers. The accommodation will also provide an on site care service by registered nurses as required, making this a unique development for Fife.
This is the twelfth round of funding under Rural Priorities and focuses mainly on Axis 1 (business development) and Axis 3 (rural communities and rural enterprise) projects.
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 of Scotland. 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.