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Building Capacity: Solving the Rural Housing Crisis in Tayvallich

In 2022, the Tayvallich Initiative embarked on an ambitious project to address housing shortages and support community growth. With funding from the Crown Estate's Community Capacity Grants Programme, the results have been transformative for the community.


Tayvallich Community Hall SCIO (TCH), a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, has evolved significantly since its formation as a fully constituted body in November 2020. Serving the community of Tayvallich and its vicinity, TCH is committed to sustainable development, community advancement, and providing facilities for recreational, heritage, and cultural activities to enhance community wellbeing. Taking the project forward was the Tayvallich Initiative (TI) who administered the grant and helped to develop plans for community housing.


In 2022, TI embarked on an ambitious project to address housing shortages and support community growth. With the Tayvallich Estate - a 3,500-acre site - up for sale, TCH seized the opportunity to secure land for affordable housing. The local landowner's donation of two parcels of land to TI laid the groundwork for this initiative. To drive the project forward, TI sought grant monies to hire a part-time Project Manager, their first staff member, to oversee the development and implementation of housing proposals.


The Project Manager's role encompassed developing affordable housing on the gifted land, identifying additional lots for community acquisition, fostering partnerships with local organisations, securing further funding, and ensuring community engagement throughout the project's progression. The appointment process began in July 2023, with a well-received advertisement and subsequent interviews conducted by directors and a Community Land Scotland representative. A candidate with extensive community company management experience was selected, significantly bolstering the organisation’s capacity.

Since the Project Manager's appointment, the group has made remarkable progress. The community received 110 acres and a house from the Tayvallich Estate's former owner, and later, 38 more acres, including another house. These properties were repaired, upgraded, and let at affordable rents, ensuring housing stability for local families.

The Project Manager's contributions have been pivotal, initially focusing on housing but later expanding to land management and renewables. 

Key achievements include:

  • Housing: Renting out the gifted house, managing the new farmhouse, and exploring various housing models with agencies and council officials to deliver new housing options.
  • Renewables: Assessing potential for wind and solar energy generation, liaising with developers for shared ownership in a nearby wind farm, and engaging with community energy networks.
  • Land Management: Securing funding to recruit a Community Ranger, who now leads educational and recreational activities, and supporting the community garden's development through successful grant applications.
  • Fundraising: Achieving significant grants from various sources, including the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, to support ongoing and future initiatives.

The project has not only provided essential housing but has also strengthened the community's infrastructure and resilience. The project’s innovative approach, supported by strategic partnerships and dedicated leadership, has set a precedent for community-led development in rural Scotland. With continued funding and community involvement, TI aims to expand its successful model to other regions, fostering sustainable development and community well-being across the country. Looking ahead, the grantee plans to build additional housing units and develop further renewable energy projects to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Tayvallich community.

As Martin Mellor, Chair, remarked:

This project has truly been transformative for our community, demonstrating the power of collective action and the remarkable outcomes we can achieve together. We look forward to continuing this journey, ensuring a vibrant and sustainable future for Tayvallich.

If you are interested in Crown Estate Scotland’s Community Capacity Grants Programme, the fund will re-open for applications at the end of August 2024. To learn more visit the fund page here.