Two community land projects in Lewis benefitted from the last payout from the present Scottish Land Fund.
More than £860,000 was awarded to groups in the Western Isles, the Highlands, Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, and Argyll and Bute.
Plans to redevelop the former Ministry of Defence radar station site at Aird, Uig in west Lewis received £200,000.
Gallan Head Community Trust will use the funding to help acquire the 42 hectare site. The purchase, under the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003, will bring this important site into community ownership for the development of new enterprises to create jobs and help build a more sustainable environment for this remote rural area.
The Trust will also buy a privately-owned house on the Gallan Head peninsula to be developed as a visitor centre along with being a base for community events.
Martin Hayes, Chairman of Gallan Head Community Trust, said: “We are thrilled as this Scottish Land Fund award means that we can complete our community buyout of MOD land and progress our plans for social enterprise.
"For the first time in many decades, local people will be able to enjoy the unique Gallan Head peninsula. The award means our community can now create opportunities to help local businesses, restore and conserve our remarkable natural environment, and create interest, enjoyment, and learning opportunities for visitors.”
The Keose Glebe Steering Group will use their £105,500 award to part fund the buyout of the Keose Glebe Estate and foreshore situated in the Lochs. Owning the 627 hectare site, which includes 11 crofts, will empower the very remote and rural community to lead and control the management and future development of the Estate enabling them to create new sustainable economic and social opportunities.
Angus Smith, Chairman of Keose Glebe Steering Group, said: “Our community have clearly shown their desire, support and commitment to taking charge of and shaping their own futures.
"We are therefore very grateful to the Scottish Land Fund for their support which we hope will be the foundation in making our plan a reality. For us, this award is more than just about the money – as it is about people being seen to have belief and confidence in us, and us having belief and confidence in ourselves. We are only at the beginning of things, but we have momentum and we can make a real difference here.”
Aileen McLeod, Minister for Land Reform, said:“This brings the number of communities who have benefitted from the current Scottish Land Fund to over 50, involving £9m worth of funding over the four years of the fund. In 2014, the Scottish Government committed to increasing this funding, so that a wider range of communities and projects can benefit from the opportunity to develop the land on which they live and work to realise their goals and ambitions.”
These are the last awards under the current Scottish Land Fund programme which is now closed. The First Minister announced in her Programme for Government that the Scottish Land Fund will be increased to £10 million for 2016-20. The new programme opens in April 2016, and details will be announced in the New Year.