Toggle menu

Ayrshire Rural and Islands Ambition (ARIA) Fund

The Ayrshire Rural and Islands Ambition (ARIA) Fund replacement to EU rural development fund LEADER.  It is part of the Scottish Government's Community Led Local Development (CLLD) programme.   It operates similar, bottom-up decision making to Ayrshire LEADER, delivered by representatives from the local area, the Local Action Group (LAG). It is administered by South Ayrshire Council, and supported in 22/23 by a partnership of Volunteer Action South Ayrshire (VASA) and The Ayrshire Community Trust (TACT).


The ARIA Fund Applicant Guidance (PDF) [564KB]  should be consulted for full fund details.

Potential applicants should engage with ARIA Fund staff before applying.  Applications will not be considered without this. Please contact

Grant Specifications

  • Grants size: £5k to £50k.
  • Grant requests of up to 90% of project costs will be considered (requiring at least 10% match funding).
  • Eligible expenditure is permitted from 1st September 22, but this should constitute no more than 25% of grant requested between 1st September and November 22(the grant award date).

Eligible Area

Rural Ayrshire & the islands of Arran & Cumbrae, defined in the eligible area map. Potential applicants should use the finder tool in the top right of the map to check for eligibility.

Fund Priorities for 22/23      

ARIA Fund:

  • Community Wealth Building
  • Reducing Inequalities
  • Just Transition to Net Zero
  • Sustainable Tourism

Scottish Government:

  • Advancing inclusion, equality and diversity
  • Reducing poverty, especially child/fuel poverty
  • Net Zero and Climate Change
  • Community Wealth Building
  • The National Islands Plan

Eligible Organisations & Activity

Please consult the ARIA Fund Applicant Guidance (PDF) [564KB]


The fund will be relatively simple in its application/claims processes.  The grant will be paid with a maximum of 50% up front for successful community groups/third sector organisation. 

Indicative Key Dates

  • Closing date for applications - midnight, Friday 7th October 22*.
  • Decision dates - late October/early November
  • Grant award letters issued November 22.
  • Projects completion, including claims - 28th February 23.  NB: eligible spend permitted from 1st September 22.

*Applicants requested to submit application before this time for review.


ARIA Fund LAG Meetings

The ARIA Fund LAG meets on a regular basis.  The minutes for the meetings are available below.