Across the Scottish Highlands and Islands over twenty Community Trusts have been active in taking more than half a million acres of land into community ownership. Despite shrinking economies and populations, the purchase of this land has had an immensely positive impact.
The land acquired has resulted in new businesses and homes, an increase in self-confidence among communities, and attracted new residents to the area. This work is the result of multiple Community Trusts working simultaneously. In 2010 they came together to establish Community Land Scotland or, in Gaelic, Fearann Coimhearsnachd na h-Alba, a company limited by guarantee with charitable status.
Community Land Scotland acts as the representative body for the community land sector and participating Community Trusts. The organisation encourages community groups to register an interest in land and works with them to ease the process of taking ownership of public land.
More widely, Community Land Scotland is supporting the creation of a New Scottish Land Fund. It is also working to simplify The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 application and gain wider recognition for the achievements of the community land movement across the Highlands and Islands.
Martha Lane Fox says:
"The scale, vision and collaboration on this project is inspirational. It would be fabulous to see the idea copied by other communities."