Common Good Funds

Information on the current Common Good and Bequest Funds in Argyll and Bute.

Common Good Funds in Scotland date from the late 15th century and they have been identified as all "property of a Royal Burgh not acquired under statutory powers or held under specified trusts". Today they can be seen as resources which have been donated by either individuals or organisations, and are now used for the "public good" within a specified area.

In 1995 with the Dissolution of the District councils, Argyll and Bute Council took over the administration of the Common good funds falling within it's geographical area.  The Common Good Funds do not belong to the Council, however, administrative support is provided by the Council, and the elected Councillors for the area are currently the members of the Common Good Fund.  Legally, the Members of the fund are in a similar position to Trustees.

Members of the Common Good Funds are not paid.

Argyll and Bute Council is responsible for the administration of 4 active Common Good Funds;

The council also administers a number of Bequest Funds, which people who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for:

  • John of Lorn Bequest (for residents of Oban, applications are processed every 3 months)
  • Lamont Bequest (for residents of Kilfinan, applications are processed every 3 months)
  • GM Duncan Bequest (for residents of Campbeltown, open for applications once a year - closing date for 2023 is 13th November 2023)
  • The Provost's Fund (open for applications once a year - closing date for 2023 was 20th November 2023)
  • The Silver Wedding Dowry Fund (for residents of Bute marrying in December - open for applications once a year - closing date for 2023 was 20th November 2023)

The Council looks after each of the separate Common Good Funds. The funds can include land and buildings as well as cash.  Each fund has a distribution policy.

When considering applications for grants, each application is, and must be, considered on its own merits.

Whilst custom and practice have in effect established certain principles in each case and particularly  in unusual cases, the Members of the Fund  must consider whether or not it is a " reasonable judgement" for them to consider making an award from the relevant Common Good Fund.

Using a "reasonable judgement" for the "benefit of the Community" could for example include expenditure on:-

  • Maintenance of public parks where they form part of the Common Good
  • Donations to local philanthropic institutions
  • Erection of memorial or ornamental statues and meeting the costs of maintenance
  • Street decorations within the fund area.
  • Applications from individuals or groups where the granting of the application would provide a good to the community at large 
  • The reserve generated from the Funds can in part be used to maintain common good land and buildings held as assets

What Activities May be Eligible For Funding

The activities below are examples of what could be considered for common good funding:-

  • School/youth exchanges within the area
  • Voluntary work overseas
  • Attendance at summer schools/events
  • Excursions/Parties (up to 2 per year per group)
  • Visits by and from School/Youth/Sport/Music groups

What  activities are not eligible

The following activities will not normally be considered:-

  • Assistance with College fees
  • Charity based sponsored walk/cycle/canoe etc...
  • Town twinning activities 
  • Organisations with religious/political associations where there are restrictions on usage or availability 
  • Core funding of the Voluntary sector
  • Assistance with rental of premises

The following additional general recommendations are also applicable:-

  • Common Good Funds normally limit expenditure to their available income in any one year -  some Common Good Funds have no funding available
  • Group applicants will be required if necessary to submit financial information
  • Successful applicants will be requested to provide reasonable feedback on the outcome of the award

Contact Details

Completed forms can be submitted to

For further information please contact the Area Governance Team:-

Bute and Cowal 
Stuart McLean, Area Committee Manager, Legal & Regulatory Support, Argyll and Bute Council, Helensburgh & Lomond Civic Centre, 38 East Clyde Street, Helensburgh, G84 7PG

Oban Lorn and the Isles 
Melissa Stewart, Area Governance Officer, Legal & Regulatory Support, Argyll and Bute Council, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, PA31 8RT.

Mid Argyll Kintyre And Islay
Lynsey Innis, Senior Committee Assistant, Legal & Regulatory Support, Argyll and Bute Council, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, PA31 8RT.

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