Two Perthshire community projects, including an outdoors hub at the centre of a council row, have been awarded funding towards the purchase of abandoned sites for their initiatives.
Rannoch Community Trust and Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust have been given more than £170,000 between them from the Scottish Land Fund.
The Rannoch group will use its £134,660 windfall to purchase the Kinloch Rannoch Outdoor Centre in the hopes of transforming the building into into a new social hub, with food, drink and business space.
The property was sold to the community group by Perth and Kinross Council earlier this year for £75,000, sparking controversy when the local authority later put forward plans to charge a hotel developer just £1 for a prominent city centre site in Perth.
David Holland, finance director at Rannoch Community Trust, said he was excited to see the community hub come a step closer.
He said: “We wish to thank the Scottish Land Fund for their advice and financial support which will now see the completion of this fantastic opportunity for the community.”
The Blairgowrie trust was handed £36,717 to purchase Mount Ericht walled garden in Rattray and develop it into a community garden in partnership with Blair in Bloom.
Stuart Nichol, chairman of the trust, believes the project will bring “considerable benefits” to the town for many years.
He said: “It is a hugely exciting project that will boost morale and inspire people as we work on recovery and renewal following the Covid-19 lockdown.
“The community garden will offer opportunities for education, the promotion of health and well-being as well as producing fruit, vegetables, and flowers.
“Before it is even off the ground, this project has inspired and engaged a number of local schools, community groups, and individuals who are keen to contribute to its development, success and long-term sustainability.”
Mary Birch, of Blair in Bloom, said she was “delighted” with the grant and the money would secure the future of her organisation.
They are amongst 21 projects to share in a total of £1,667,987 from the Scottish Land Fund.
Perthshire SNP MSP and minister for land reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “Communities across the country are playing a pivotal role in helping create a fairer and greener Scotland as we respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The latest round of Scottish Land Fund grants will go towards projects that will provide locals with better access to green space, encourage wildlife and support community business.”