Option closed to new applications
What is this about
To improve public understanding and awareness of the countryside, for example, farming, forestry, natural environment, and conserving the architectural heritage, through the provision of small scale recreational opportunities, on-site displays and exhibitions, farm visits, open-days, advisory signage, guided walks or interpretive trails.
What will this achieve
This improved understanding will enhance the value and enjoyment of people's visits whilst also improving rural land managers' skills and understanding in relation to access and recreation. It will also help to raise awareness, and promote respect and understanding of our countryside through 'first hand' experience.
This is an effective way for rural land managers to promote what they do, and improve the environment in which they live and work, using effective, interesting and interactive approaches.
Facilities provided through this measure will be a sustainable resource, which will benefit nearby communities and enterprises. This measure aims to generate broad social and economic benefits, raise public awareness and understanding, improve information provision, increase people's enjoyment of the outdoors and provide a source of cultural inspiration and creativity.
There are a range of benefits from providing facilities which deliver a more inclusive approach, both to the applicant and the public:
- Better quality of experience for visitors.
- Increased visitor numbers from new visitors and increased repeat visits.
- Improved service delivery and greater staff satisfaction.
- A positive image associated with making efforts to improve information and awareness through increasing people's enjoyment of the outdoors.
- More effective use of resources and less wastage from temporary measures.
- Greater ability for applicant to have a larger diversity of staff and volunteers.
- Conservation of your area is balanced with improved access provision, through greater public understanding.
What you can do
You can provide information on a range of themes including a focus on the production of food, timber, conservation of the natural and historic environment, management of the landscape, production of bio fuel crops or on rural land managers and the contribution they make to Scotland. You can also provide small scale recreation, education and interpretive provisions and services, and development of market services using outdoor access to enhance awareness and understanding.
You can undertake one or more of the following activities:
- Providing publications and other media, including booklets, leaflets, workshops, audio visual programmes, tapes and CDs. These items must include information that is suitable for the target audience and may include general information for the public on land management practices, the environment, ecology, topography, maps, land use and changing land use, built heritage, the access code and responsible behaviour.
- Providing information panels/interpretation boards, trails and signage which must provide information to the public on the area and/or activities they can see around them when they are out on a trail, to aid their understanding of the rural environment, architectural, cultural, archaeological and historic heritage. This information can include map boards.
- Accessibility improvements for users of all abilities, including ramps for disabled users and induction loops.
- Coach parking and turning areas for school groups and disabled parking.
You can apply to undertake different activities in each year of your contract.
When you are planning your proposal it is worth considering the full range of available Options. It's often assumed that improvements involve physical change but this is not always the case. Some of the most effective improvements come from simple, low-cost changes to interpretation, the way things are done, and how visitors are looked after. It's difficult to do everything for everyone. In your proposal, aim to create a balance so that everyone is able to enjoy their experience.
Capital items must meet the minimum technical specifications contained at the end of this Option.
To ensure value for money you must provide 2 competitive quotes. The quotes for capital items must be based upon actual cost. You must include a copy of the specification used for the works covered in the quote. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information
Who can apply
This Option is available to all rural land managers, community groups and non-profit organisations. Priority will be given to applicants who demonstrate that they have consulted and have the support of relevant organisations, for example, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), local authority ranger service or access officer, Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS), Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority.
- This Option is available to all rural land managers, community groups and non-profit organisations in Scotland that own or occupy land. Community Groups who are applying to undertake work on someone else's land should visit the guidance at Land Ownership, Control and Withdrawal for advice on drawing up a Secure Tenancy agreement.
- Training, publication and other media items for training rural land managers are not eligible for funding under this Option.
- Your proposal must be for at least one of the listed information and awareness activities and must meet all of the minimum technical specifications.
Relationship with other measures available under the Scotland Rural Development Programme
If your proposal is eligible for support under this option, you cannot choose instead to support it through other measures in the SRDP. These include:
- Provision or improvements of roads, bridges, culverts, gates; or formation or improvement of access track to land improvement areas (available under the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grants Scheme)
- Access creation for sustainable forest management, Improving access (available under Land Managers Options)
- Woodlands in and around towns, Forestry for people (available under Forestry Challenge Funds)
- Support for diversification outwith agriculture, Support for the development and creation of micro-enterprises, Livestock tracks, gates and river crossing, Information and awareness raising, Sustainable management of forests and woodlands (available under other Rural Priorities Options).
Documents to submit with your application
- You must identify how you propose to promote and market your project. You must include information on the activities you propose to do, and you must provide written confirmation from your local ranger or local access officer in your local or national park authority area that you have liaised with them before you submitted your application.
- You must submit a 1:10,000 scale map showing the detail of your project including the location of any capital items you have included in your application. You must provide a copy of this map to your local authority or national park authority access officer before you submit your application.
- You must also submit written evidence from your local access authority (usually the access officer in your local authority or national park authority) confirming they have received the map before you submit your application. Note - the information you provide may be used as the basis for public information on access and interpretive opportunities in the area. Any other public bodies which have given advice should be notified for their information.
- With your application you must submit at least two quotes for each item being claimed for under this Option. You must include a copy of the specification used for the works covered in the quote.
- You must confirm that your project is not in receipt of funding from other sources, such as Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) or from your local access group for any items being applied for under this Option.
- You must keep expenditure receipts for the period of the scheme.
- You must keep records of the relevant biosecurity and health and safety requirements you have undertaken to support this Option.
Rate of support
We will pay up to 100% of actual costs for capital items up to a maximum payment of £10,000 for publications and other media and up to a total of £50,000 for panels/trails/signage. There is no maximum limit to amount of grant available for accessibility improvements.
We will pay for items referred to in the technical specifications which deliver improved information and awareness. We will also consider new and innovative items which deliver the same objectives for this Option.
In addition to the maximum grant levels, the total amount of grant payable for non-agricultural, commercial activities can be limited because of rules applied in relation to State Aid.
We will make payments in arrears and all claims must be supported by receipted invoices in accordance with guidance for making claims for actual cost capital items as described in How to make a capital claim. You must maintain items funded under this option for 5 years following the end of the year in which the final funding was given.
We may inspect and verify the work that you have carried out. Please see the guidance on inspections. The inspector will verify:
- that the work, including any carried out under leverage, meets the standards and conditions as set out in the approval,
- is technically sound and
- that the claimed costs are justified.
You must also keep records showing that all the relevant biosecurity and health and safety requirements have been undertaken.
Minimum Technical Specifications
Guidance on publications and other media, including booklets, leaflets, workshops, audio-visual programmes, tapes and CDs, etc.
Providing information panels/interpretation boards, trails and signage which must provide information to the public
Accessibility improvements for the public, including disabled parking, ramps for disabled users and induction loops
List of links to relevant technical guidance
The following further technical information will help you in developing your proposal.
There is a new Equalities Act 2010 which replaces the earlier Disability Discrimination Acts of 1995 and 2005. This reinforces the case that it is unlawful for the providers of goods, facilities and services (and certain other bodies) to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of their disability. The Act requires that reasonable adjustments should be made where a service provider has a practice, policy or procedure or there is a physical feature that makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of the service. The Disability Rights Commission's Code of Practice gives some helpful guidance.
You may wish to develop an access plan as part of your proposal. Improvements to information and awareness raising can benefit a wide range of individuals. These can include everyone, but particularly disabled users, their companions, people with children and pushchairs and some older individuals who may not consider themselves disabled but who do appreciate easier access.
You may wish to seek the expertise of Local Access groups to undertake an access audit of your project.
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