Rural Settlement Fund delivers boost for local economy in West Highlands
Bonnie Argyll – picturesque scene at Oban Harbour. Picture by Bill Heaney
By Aileen MacLennan
Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed the success of a £500,000 fund in attracting new residents and jobs to the area.
At the meeting this week of the Policy and Resources Committee, councillors reviewed a report on the economic impact of the Rural Resettlement Fund which showed that 193 new residents, including 56 children, relocated to Argyll and Bute thanks to Fund support.
Of that number, 18 people with families relocated to take up a job on one of our islands, resulting in 53 new inhabitants in these communities across Argyll and Bute.
The impact of the Fund on the Argyll and Bute economy is estimated at just over £1.95 million with skills attracted to the area to fill 75 new and existing jobs.
The Fund was formally launched in 2016 and closed for new applications in May last year. It was particularly targeted at encouraging economically active people and young families relocating, returning or staying in Argyll and Bute to take up employment.
In total, the Fund inspired 111 applications with 79 grants being awarded. All applicants were asked to give a reason for their relocation with the most common answer being the work/life balance in Argyll and Bute.
Asked what it’s like to have made the decision to live in Argyll and Bute, two new residents said: “We wanted our children to grow up living and learning in a safe environment which benefits from access to countryside, mountains and coastline.”
And: “I love it so much here that I am now trying to convince family and friends to move here too!”
Councillor Aileen Morton, left, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council said: “The council created the Rural Resettlement Fund to help attract people and jobs to the area and that’s exactly what it’s done.
“Argyll and Bute offers a fantastic lifestyle, and opportunities for business success – the range of award winning businesses based here is testament to that. For the area to thrive long term however, we need to grow our population.
“While the lifestyle and natural resources of Argyll and Bute have been the key attraction, the Fund has played a key part in inspiring families to make the move, which is good news for both our mainland and island communities.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish our new residents happiness and success in Argyll and Bute.”
Information on living and working in Argyll and Bute is available on www.abplace2b.scot