Community groups & land management
Funding rural heritage for Community groups through the SRDP
Can community groups apply for this funding?
Yes, there are two main funding streams Rural Priorities and LEADER that are available for community groups to access. Where groups are interested in heritage in woodlands, they can also apply for Forestry Challenge Funding. Owners and tenant groups in the Crofting Counties (eg Common Grazings Committees) can additionally apply for funding under the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grants Scheme (CCAGS - This scheme is primarily associated with agricultural improvements in crofting areas and not directly suitable for funding community heritage projects.)
Are payments automatic?
No, funding is discretionary and your application will be assessed by Case Officers before approval. What is the difference between the two schemes? LEADER only offers a percentage of funding, normally 50%, requiring matched funding. The 16 Leader Action Groups (LAGs) cover different boundaries to the Rural Priorities Area Committee (RPAC) areas. Rural Priorities – There are 11 RPAC areas, each with a different set of local priorities. All areas include works to ‘enhance and repair’ nationally important Scheduled Ancient Monuments, Listed Buildings and Inventory Gardens & Designed Landscapes as priorities and most include provision to enhance access and interpretation to all sites as a separate priority. Community groups must obtain a Business Reference Number (BRN) before applying and they must be registered groups to become eligible for this registration. You may still be expected to find match funding for part of your scheme costs – this can include in-kind costs (see below).
Can you get funding from different Scottish Government schemes?
Yes, according to guidance given on the Conservation of the Rural Environment theme of LEADER (Annex D)
‘Natural, Cultural and Heritage issues, which complement Rural Development Contract and Land Management options regional priorities and are driven by the community and have a wide community benefit would be eligible under this theme. An example would be improving access to areas of high environmental or historical amenity and increasing the sense of local ownership of these assets through enhancement programmes. Facilitation costs for community preparing for a larger project eg community wind turbine or other asset could be supported under LEADER while the main project is supported elsewhere in the SRDP or structural funds.’
Challenge funding for forestry cannot be supported by matched funding from other government sources including LEADER. Survey & management plan costs can be paid. However the Rural Directorate has issued the following guidance on Match Funding. CCAGS support is limited to 40-50% of the total cost, the rate depending on the area selected. Structural funds are not strictly part of the SRDP, but are also EU funded and operate within the same programme period of 2007-2013. All community groups must register under the EUROSYS before applying. In the Lowlands & Uplands Scotland area, competitive funding under the Rural Development Priority 4 under the ERDF is restricted to certain local authorities. This priority is not applicable in the Highlands & Islands area. Structural funds are primarily directed at encouraging new enterprises and new training opportunities, so only heritage projects that support the expansion of facilities such as heritage centres or skills training for local people are likely to be supported. Eligible projects must have a minimum annual spend of £200,000, including matched funding of 60% or more.
Can I get help to obtain more information and advice?
The Scottish Government is funding the SCVO to help constituted Community Groups access funding from the SRDP. They have set up the Scottish National Rural Network to advise community groups how to progress applications.