We have been uniquely positioned as an independent, strategic and charitable body which offers the opportunity to access a broad range of funding streams and collaborate across sectors/areas.
Our whole start up has been the result of a feasibility study into the establishment of a countryside trust in Argyll. This was commissioned by Argyll and Bute Council, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Argyll and Bute Social Enterprise Network and conduted in 2012 by the STAR Group Consultancy.
The study in full, with summary and recommendations can be found at:
Mainly it found that:
- there was strong support for the Trust with a limited number of concerns expressed through the consultation.
- the proposed objectives were favoured with recommendations that top priorities should be linked to developing and promoting access networks and raising additional funds to support work on the natural and historic environment in the area.
- there was scope for the Trust to support local groups, but also to take a strategic view and co-ordinate larger scale partnership bids for funding and development of priority projects.
- a wide grassroots membership from the outset was considered important, and being established as an independent charitable company with a Board made up of a mix of elected and appointed directors.
- the trust could provide a cost effective partnership for agencies, communities, business and volunteers to work together to add real value to the region’s natural, cultural and historical heritage and by doing so contribute to the region’s health, wellbeing and economy.
As a result, with support from Argyll and Bute Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and NHS Highland the Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (AICCT) was launched in September 2013 as a partnership between these four agencies and the local community.
We have been given funding and support from each of the four partners for a period of 3 years, our projects are starting to generate income as we move into a new phase.
We’ll develop a multi-layered financial model with a view to taking the reliance away from one off short term grant funding awards. A reliable ongoing income stream e.g. renewable energy income, visitor giving scheme or core funding commitment will allow us a great deal more flexibility and opportunity to secure additional monies. Therefore all opportunities to develop this will be progressed.
Membership fees and annual renewals, and “Friends” donations will also support development and offer an ongoing funding stream.
We’ll also explore opportunities to support larger companies and developers with the distribution of their community dividend funds across the region. Our experienced Board and Advisors who are independent and representative of locations, sectors and communities across Argyll and the Isles will allow us to distribute funds equitably.