Argyll and Bute Council has announced that its innovative Rural Resettlement Fund aimed at attracting families, individuals and businesses looking for new opportunities and a different way of life is now open for applications.
During Argyll Enterprise Week - being held in Oban all this week - the council announced that the £500,000 fund can provide grants to employers, self-employed people and families to assist with some of the expenses associated with relocating their business or taking up employment in Argyll and Bute.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Sustainable Economic Growth said:
“Argyll and Bute is recognised as being one of the country’s most promising areas with a unique local economy and has so much to offer Scotland’s long-term economic growth and security.
“The enterprising spirit is already evident in Argyll with higher rates of self-employment than the Scottish average and a history of welcoming new, creative ideas.
“Our innovative communities have a can-do attitude leading to firsts such as the community buy-out of Gigha, pioneering community renewable power schemes and successful social enterprises.
“We are in a position where we want to grow both our population and our economy. The Rural Resettlement Fund is a tool to encourage new businesses and individuals looking for new opportunities and a more balanced life-style to choose Argyll and Bute.”
Argyll and Bute has 23 inhabited islands and also benefits from direct access to the central belt. The council is committed to investing in its town centres and has spent more than £30m on new and improved facilities in Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Oban, Rothesay and Dunoon.
The council has already received nearly 100 enquiries – from across the country and as far afield as South Africa – expressing interest in applying for the fund.
Businesses trading for more than two years, with a turnover of more than £80,000 and with at least one full-time member of staff other than the owner (paid at the Scottish living wage or more) can apply for up to £10,000 to assist with business relocation costs. To qualify, the business needs to demonstrate it is sustainable and has growth plans.
Those in self-employment can apply for up to £5000 providing they have been trading successfully for at least 12 months, are paying themselves the equivalent of the Scottish living wage and can demonstrate sustainability.
Individuals who are moving to Argyll and Bute to take up employment can apply for up to £5000 to assist with removal costs and assistance with rent provided they have an offer of a contract or Modern Apprenticeship of at least 12 months and Argyll and Bute will be their full-time residence. Only one application for assistance can be made per household.
Full details of the fund, eligibility criteria and details on how to apply can be found at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/rrf
During the week, the council also announced that a £500,000 programme of support – Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator - for small and medium-sized enterprises is now available.