Scottish Land Fund: evaluation

Independent evaluation of the Scottish Land Fund, commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Mark Diffley. It reviews the operation of the fund and makes recommendations for the future.

Perceptions of Funding Opportunities

Capital versus Revenue

Currently, applicants to the Scottish Land Fund are permitted to apply for funding of up to £1million to cover the costs of acquisition for their project. Within that overall limit there are rules around what the funding can used for; these rules state that 80% of the funds awarded must cover capital costs, i.e. the cost of the acquiring the land or building for their project, while the remaining 20% can cover revenue costs, i.e. all costs for the running and upkeep of the land or building.

A vast majority of applicants require additional funding to help with renovations and operational costs and there are split opinions on whether the SLF should be the source for this. Often applicants are unaware of what the money granted from SLF can actually be spent on, and there are calls to clarify this better.

  • "It would be helpful if there was revenue funding available for project officers, which is vital to the continuity of a project"

There are also divided opinions when considering the capital to revenue split. Some consider the split to work well and others view it more as an arbitrary number that doesn't matter.

  • "It's a capital fund, we're there to acquire assets but there's a strong demand for us to be more than that."

Other funding Opportunities

A vast proportion (70%) of community groups who applied for stage two funding also received funding from another source.

Figure 12: Sourced other funding. Base: Those awarded stage 2 funding (n = 128).
This shows the percentages of the respondents who received further funding to help with their project. It showed that 70% had, whereas 30% had not.

Success at stage 2 of the SLF was perceived as an influencing factor for securing additional funding.

Figure 13: Success at stage 2 as influencing factor. Base: those who accessed further funding (n = 93).
This shows the responses to the question of whether or not success at stage two of the application process helped the applicants receive further funding. It shows that, for 82% of the respondents, success did help them acquire additional funding. For 4%, it did not, and 9% did not know.

Applicants to the Scottish Land Fund go on to access funding from a wide range of other funds, trusts and grant providers. The most common source of additional funding is from the local authority, LEADER, HIE, RHF, The Robertson Trust and from community fundraising.

Annualization of the budget

Currently the Scottish Land Fund is operated on an annual budget which is not reviewed during the course of the year. This means that once the financial year for the fund ends, any money which is left unspent is not carried forward to the following year.

There are calls to review the annualization of the budget, and there is a notion that timing frustrations are linked to the coming to the end of the annual budget and there being no resources left until the next year of the SLF.

  • "I guess some of the frustrations around the finances are around the annualization of it. The fact we always end up in a position where we've overcommitted but underspent"



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