Supporting New Ideas in Rural Communities

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£1.5M for Community Groups

Not-for-profit community groups in rural areas will soon be able to apply for funding of up to £50,000 to trial new and innovative ways to address local challenges and benefit from local opportunities.

The Rural Communities “Ideas into Action” Fund is supported by £1.5 million of Scottish Government funding and will be delivered in partnership with Inspiring Scotland. It will allow applicants to take forward ideas that will test change while linking community action with addressing local issues.

The fund forms part of the wider £3 million fund announced earlier this year in the Scottish Budget, to deliver pilot projects testing innovative ways of delivering Community Led Local Development (CLLD) before March 2022.


This is very welcome Scottish Government funding to empower rural communities and support local groups to pursue their own initiatives.

There are brilliant groups across Angus with many positive ideas to take forward, and so I would encourage all to apply.

It is also a great opportunity for such local initiatives to inform policy at the national level, and I look forward to seeing the successful applications and their outcomes in due course.

Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon:

I want to put rural and island communities in charge of making change happen in their local area. This Fund will help communities do just that, allowing them to be creative and test unproven but good ideas.

We will be looking for projects that demonstrate how they will help make rural Scotland greener and fairer. Projects will also need to show how they will include people especially those who are harder to reach or who are remote from or less often involved in community activity

The aim is to learn about what does and doesn’t work in rural communities and why, and we will use this information to influence future policy.

Inspiring Scotland CEO, Celia Tennant:

We’re delighted to be partnering with the Scottish Government to deliver the Rural Communities Ideas into Action Fund which will support locally-driven social action in rural communities. This approach is central to Inspiring Scotland’s ethos, to encourage new ideas, to capture learning and to support, develop and connect communities. We look forward to supporting successful applicants to deliver the aims and ambitions of the fund.

The fund will open for applications on Monday 13 September, and close on Friday 8 October at 12 noon. Full details will be made available on the Inspiring Scotland website when the application window opens.

There are two strands of funding available:

  • Small Grants of up to £3,000 – for grassroots rural groups or organisations to support community projects that fit with local needs and are locally led.  The process for applying for this funding has been simplified to make it easy for unincorporated groups to apply, and both capital and expenditure costs are eligible.
  • Large Grants of between £3001 and £50,000 – for not-for-profit organisations to invest in community-led initiatives that respond to local need.  Again, capital and revenue costs are eligible and these can be delivered in partnership with other local organisations.

The first part of of the £3 million fund (Rural Communities Testing Change Fund) was ring-fenced for use by LEADER Local Action Groups to build on the legacy of LEADER funding whilst exploring new options for delivering Community Led Local Development through place-based partnerships.

Community Led local Development and the first tranche of the RCTC fund.