Communities across Scotland will now receive support to become land or buildings owners thanks to a £350,000 fund.
The money, awarded to the Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) for 2016/17, aims to provide community groups and public bodies with support to transform buildings or land assets. The service has previously helped to turn former council offices and empty shops into community hubs, art venues or sports centres.
Since 2011, the service has supported more than 490 projects, helping facilitate 78 asset transfers of buildings or land to local communities.
The support service offers expert advice on all aspects of asset transfer, as well as training courses, good practice guides and toolkits for communities wanting to take on buildings or waste land.
Communities Cabinet Secretary Angela Constance announced the funding while visiting Kirknewton Community Development Trust, who benefitted from support from COSS and have recently received funding from the Scottish Land Fund to help buy land which will be used to build zero-energy housing for older people.
Ms Constance said:
“I’m delighted to announce this funding today, which will support communities across Scotland to take on buildings and land and use them for the good of their community and improve their local area.
“Every area has a building or land that could be transformed if local people were given the support, help and, importantly, control, to make a difference.
“This fund will help communities transform buildings into spaces fit for purpose, and inject life into town and village centres by regenerating disused spaces, generating income and creating jobs.
“Kirknewton Development Trust is an excellent example of where community ownership has helped bring people together and create spaces with purpose.”
Ian Cooke, Director of the Development Trusts Association Scotland, which delivers COSS, said:
“This announcement of renewed funding for the Community Ownership Support Service is most welcome. Groups the length and breadth of Scotland are using asset transfer to protect and sustain local services, create economic benefits and generally transform their communities.
“The Scottish Government's ongoing funding will allow COSS to continue supporting these communities to fulfill their ambitions for asset ownership.”
Source: Scottish Government