Help for rural communities


A new service to help rural communities apply for a range of funding programs was launched today.

Rural Direct will aim to ensure communities reap maximum benefit from schemes aimed at tackling climate change, reducing waste and improving environmental management.

The Crofters' Commission and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) will operate the service, offering advice, support and technology in the applications process.

Speaking in at the SCVO headquarters in Inverness, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

"This Government wants to see communities able to make the most of the grant funding available to them.

"I want community groups to be fully equipped to maximise the opportunities available to them in the sustainable economic development of rural Scotland .

"Rural Priorities in particular will deliver real benefits for the people of Scotland and is a one-stop shop for farmers, crofters and others living and working in rural Scotland.

"In the past year Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Crofters' Commission have been awarded a total of £295,000 for 2008-09 by the Scottish Government to help Rural Scotland make the most of its potential.

"I want to see rural Scotland maximise the investment this Government has made available and look forward to seeing the results in the coming years."

Crofters' Commission will be operating the scheme within the crofting counties. SCVO will be covering the rest of rural Scotland. This will ensure that communities across all of rural Scotland will have access to support and advice to obtain funding for projects to benefit rural communities.

The assistance given will be need based and may include information on what funding is available, support to achieve eligibility criteria and access to a computer where necessary to submit an application for funding.

Rural Direct can be reached by telephoning 0845 838 8598.

Programs which Rural Direct can assist in the applications process include:

  • Rural Priorities: £800 million available up to 2013 for the sustainable economic future of Scotland's rural communities
  • Climate Challenge Fund: £18.8 million over three years to help communities take local action to tackle the global threat of climate change
  • Community Waste Fund: £7.5 million available over three years for innovative community projects aimed at fulfilling the ambition of a 'Zero Waste Scotland'
  • Big Lottery Fund: National Lottery funding to good causes, particularly aimed at community groups and projects that improve health, education and the environment