This option is now closed to new Rural Priorities applications
Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, has announced that the option for Community Services Facilities (CSF) will now transfer from the Rural Priorities to the LEADER element of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
Any CSF application committed by the 5 July Rural Priorities deadline will be dealt with under the August RPAC arrangements.
Any CSF application committed after 5 July will now be dealt with under the LEADER arrangements. We will be writing out to all those affected by this change. The Rural Direct service will assist those applicants not covered by the August RPAC to take any LEADER application forward.
Further information on how to apply to LEADER is available on the LEADER website.
This Option is to provide funding for projects that add to or improve local community facilities in a rural area. "Local" should be understood as referring to a small area of the country such as a village or even smaller settlements, which are geographically distinct and usually extend to no more than several square miles.
What will this achieve?
This Option will allow local communities to address the gaps in their facilities, for their own use, that are not currently being addressed by public or other providers. Its objective is to encourage communities to enhance development in the area in line with local strategic objectives and national outcomes.
What you can do
You can use this grant Option for improvements to the infrastructure, facilities or services in your area that will be used by local people, rather than e.g. tourists, and are not detrimental to the environment.
By the time that you Submit your Proposal, you must provide evidence to demonstrate how the proposed service or facility will address:
- Local, community need that is wider than the interests of the applicant. For example, specific gaps in provision for this particular community identified in a local area strategy and/or as a result of comprehensive community consultation, and
- demand from the wider, local community for this specific service or facility for their own use.
By the Submit stage, the Case Officer will also expect to receive:
- an option appraisal examining the various options considered,
- a Business Plan for the project delivery and management for the build period and the five years of the Rural Priorities compliance period. This would include a financial plan and cash flows. This should demonstrate that the project is economically sustainable.
The application must show that the project is environmentally sustainable and has taken account of environmental sensitivities.
Projects should make a contribution to specific strategic outcomes for the area and enhance community development.
You must also meet the general Rural Priorities scheme requirements, e.g. in demonstrating that you own or control the land (see Land Ownership, Control and Withdrawal).
What you cannot do
Where the principal benefit to the local community is in providing employment opportunities or facilities for tourists, applicants are directed to more appropriate Options e.g. Development/Creation of Micro-enterprises.
Renewables and associated works are not appropriate for the Community Services and Facilities Option.
Access projects are not appropriate for the Community Services and Facilities Option. For details, please see Area Access Management option guidance.
Who can apply?
Only rural community groups are eligible to apply for projects in their local area. A rural community group is defined as a community group which has a written constitution and which holds a bank account for the benefit of that group and whose membership is drawn from a rural settlement, including rural areas. A rural settlement means a settlement which has a population of less than 3,000 according to the Scottish Executive Urban Rural Classification 2003-2004. The membership may include those who represent other local organisations, e.g.: community councillors, school PTA or church representatives, but these should be in the minority.
Independent rural community groups, as described above, which are also members of a national federation, are eligible to apply in their own right.
You must provide a copy of their constitution (e.g. Memorandum and Articles) by the time that you Submit your Proposal and may also be asked for a breakdown of the actual membership.
Who cannot apply?
National, regional or local authority-wide organisations are not eligible to apply because they are not rural community groups as defined above. National organisations include Scottish Outdoor Education Centres and the Scottish Youth Hostel Association as well as national federations, of which independent local bodies are members, e.g. Riding for the Disabled Association.
The following also cannot apply:
- local authorities and other public sector organisations and
- groups largely composed of members which are public sector organisations, e.g. local authority, enterprise company, health board, other agencies, etc..
What costs could be supported?
- Capital costs - building renovation/new build, Internet café facilities, village halls, allotments, sports equipment/facilities, catering accommodation/upgrade.
- Non capital costs related to the capital works - feasibility studies, project management of the build, etc.
More detailed guidance is available at ( Project Expenditure Eligible Costs)
What costs cannot be supported?
There are a number of key items, which are ineligible for Rural Priorities funding and you should have fairly substantial, unrestricted reserves in your accounts, or an alternative source of funding, to cover these, particularly:
- Interest on loans, arrangement fees, etc.
- Contingency costs for capital projects. In line with good practive and industry standards, you should include provision of at least 10% for unspecified contingency costs in your budget.
- Professional fees in excess of 12% (see Project Expenditure Eligible Costs)
Your Financial Plan should demonstrate that you have sufficient resources to be able to manage cash-flow during the project. Rural Priorities funding is paid in arrears and you should anticipate that it will take three months to receive payment
Rate of support
Up to 90% of approved project costs.
In addition to the grant ceiling, the total amount of grant payable for non-agricultural, commercial activities can be limited because of rules applied in relation to State Aid.
Capital projects in excess of £5,000 will be subject to a physical inspection. For other projects we will need evidence of expenditure/outcome (invoices, receipts, photos of outcome). In the application you will be asked to explain how the project benefits the local community.
List of links to relevant technical guidance
Guidance for community groups:
Rural Direct is a service designed to help rural community organisations to access funding from a range of sources including the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP). Rural Direct is a national service delivered locally by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). See www.ruraldirect.org.uk
Advice on Business Plans and Financial Plans - http://www.bgateway.com
Community Right to Buy - www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1112/0005125.pdf