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Rural Housing Guide

Pulling all the evidence together can be a daunting task for a small community group. There is however help available from organisations like the Rural Housing Service the Development Trust Association Scotland, Highland Small Communities Housing Trust or Dumfries + Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust. It is also worthwhile talking to communities who have done this before and know the ropes and contact details are given for the communities who are case studies in the guide.

You may also be able to get a grant to help conduct a feasibility study. The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland runs a Community Projects Fund which awards grants of up to £2000 to enable a local Community Group to employ an architect or any other building professional, to prepare a feasibility study for building or environmental improvement projects or employment or other initiatives which have social benefit”.

Most local authorities will also have a small grants fund within the housing department or a grant may be possible as part of community asset transfer development. In the Highlands & Islands, Highlands & Islands Enterprise may be able to offer a grant as part of their community asset development programme. The local housing association may also be willing to support or mentor you through this process offering up their skills as well as securing reduced rates from necessary consultants (see the Strathmashie Case Study).

One of the main considerations of a feasibility study is to estimate the cost of construction of the houses required. It is possible to estimate "ball park" figures for this based on local knowledge of previous house construction. However costs can vary considerably from site to site depending on ground conditions and specification of materials. Local architects or builders may be willing to help with this and  to work on an "at risk" basis on the understanding that they will be considered for the actual project. There may also be skills within the community which you can draw upon on a voluntary basis.