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Funding programme for rural Ayrshire and islands open for applications

ARIA Little Peru

An exciting funding stream exclusive to rural Ayrshire and the islands of Arran and Cumbrae has launched for its second year.

The Ayrshire Rural and Islands Ambition (ARIA) Fund is part of the Scottish Government's Community Led Local Development (CLLD) programme. It is led by the ARIA Local Action Group (LAG) and administered by South Ayrshire Council.

With around £450K to allocate to eligible projects, ARIA is running three funds for 2023/24:

  • ARIA Main Fund
  • ARIA Communities into Action Fund
  • ARIA Community Asset Maintenance Fund

For the ARIA Main Fund, eligible organisations include community groups/third sector organisations, businesses, farms; any organisation with up to 249 employees. Funding can be used for a wide range of projects, including technical or feasibility studies to facilitate a future project, training, event costs, marketing, staff costs, volunteer costs and running costs.

The ARIA Communities into Action Fund is open to community groups and third sector organisations. It allows such groups to implement actions in community action plans or similar, refresh community actions plans or develop community action plans from scratch. Funding can used for a variety of purposes, including staff costs, specialist support, event costs, training and running costs.

The Community Asset Maintenance Fund aims to provide support to maintain community buildings and is open to community groups/third sector organisations and a community asset.

Family-run business Little Peru who offer alpaca trekking and eco glamping pods on their site near Crosshill, was awarded ARIA funding last year. Owner Robin Kelly commented:

"The ARIA application process was supportive and transparent. It made us hone and reflect on our core business values and bring our vision to life. The funding and guidance from ARIA have provided the springboard for our business to grow and prosper."

South Ayrshire Councillor Alec Clark, Portfolio Holder for Rural Affairs, commented:

"This is a significant amount of funding which is available to support our rural communities in South Ayrshire. I would encourage people - whether they own a rural business or are involved in a community organisation - to look into the Funds to see if they are eligible to apply for a grant which could make a real difference to the community in which they live or work."

ARIA Fund Co-ordinator, Angela Lamont, said:

"Operating three different ARIA funding streams this year means there is grant support available for a wide range of rural organisations. I would urge anyone who may be interested in applying to contact us as soon as possible, as grants can only be awarded to applicants who have engaged with us.

"We are also running online information sessions over the next few weeks, running morning, afternoon and evening. These last for 1 - 1.5 hours and we recommended anyone interested books onto a session, as it will help explain the application process."

The ARIA Main Fund and ARIA Communities into Action Fund are open to applications until 11th August 2023. Grants from £5K - £50K are available, at up to 90% of total eligible project costs, with at least 10% match funding. The Community Asset Maintenance Fund is open until 29th September 2023. Grants up to a maximum of £7K are available, and up to 90% of total eligible project costs, with at least 10% match funding.

To find out more or to begin the application process for ARIA funding, please visit  A map of eligible areas can also be found at