Finderne Development Trust (FDT) has been granted nearly £10,000 from the Scottish Land Fund for a feasibility study to assess the potential of developing community-led affordable housing in Rafford at Brockloch.
This study is the first step of a wider community development project which aims to meet a number of the Finderne communities’ long-term needs including the demand for a community energy scheme, the enhancement of environmental sustainability and increased opportunities for a recreational activity to enhance life in the rural community.
The concept, which utilises the sports field at Rafford Village Hall to generate renewable ‘park power’ energy to supply the hall and homes was the brainchild of FDT director Brian Higgs.
Brian explained, “Seeing the land at Brockloch adjacent to the village hall and sports field just seemed to flag up an opportunity to link three benefits for the community. If a community-led affordable housing scheme is feasible, it will be good to have the houses designed with low Carbon heating. The sports field might be a perfect place to install a ground source heat capture system. If it is, and we dig up the field, why not replace it with a modern all-weather sports surface? It’s very unusual to have three complementary factors sitting next to each other so getting experts in to see what’s feasible was an obvious step to take.”
Affordable housing was identified as key in growing a vibrant, sustainable and balanced community during FDT’s community consultation in 2018.
Pery Zakeri, Development Manager, commented: “Community-led affordable housing has been a catalyst for the regeneration of many rural communities. We want to retain and attract younger people and families to live and work in Finderne – this can only be achieved by offering them somewhere affordable to live. As we strive to put environmental sustainability at the core of our regeneration activities and create new social opportunities which look after the health of all members of our community, this project could provide a fantastic first solution and have great impact.”
The Trust have engaged the services of Community Housing Scotland to undertake the feasibility works. Community Housing Scotland help rural communities better understand and meet the needs for additional affordable housing and have worked with over 200 rural community groups across Scotland to date.
Attracting socially-active families
Joe Gribben, Community-led Housing Officer at Community Housing Scotland said: “The shortage of appropriate affordable housing is a major problem across rural communities, and we are delighted to be working with FDT on this exciting community-led project. We believe it will make a significant contribution to the community’s ability to attract and retain the economically and socially active families needed to support local services and businesses.”
FDT Director Brian Higgs went on to say, “It is particularly poignant that we start this feasibility study so soon after the sad loss of our friend and colleague Chris Piper. Chris was our first chairperson and he lived just across the road from the Brockloch site. He was immensely enthusiastic about this project concept and anything we achieve will be a lasting tribute to his memory”.
The trust were awarded £9,870 to fund the feasibility study with FDT contributing £5,820 of its own funds.
FDT invite Finderne residents and non-residents who are considering moving to the area to complete their housing and community needs survey which can be access at https://www.hscht.co.uk/chs-surveys.html.
Further details about the Finderne Development Trust and its projects is available at www.findernedevelopmenttrust.com.