Agriculture is a key contributor to the rural economy and has important links to other sectors, most notably food and drink. The task of HIE is to unlock the potential of rural communities in the Highlands and Islands and help create a strong, diverse and sustainable economy where quality of life is matched by quality of opportunity.
HIE will utilise its community development experience and expertise to offer opportunities to those selected communities willing to take forward ownership of community planning within the fragile areas of the HIE area. You can view the designated fragile areas on our interactive map.
Where crofting has a significant and important economic and cultural role, the Community Growth Plans will include a crofting development statement to reflect crofter input.
Crofters may also, as individuals or collectively, develop social enterprises or micro businesses which are supportable under the Growth at the Edge/Fas aig an Oir (GatE/FaaO) approach. They also often have a linguistic development contribution to make as active users of Gaelic.
HIE will work in partnership with others to ensure the support and conditions are correct for communities across the area to deliver their community energy plans. Some of our key partners include the Scottish Government, Scottish Investment Bank (REIF) , Local Energy Scotland (CARES) and Community Energy Scotland.
The Rural Direct service will be delivered by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), providing advice to community groups on project funding sources including the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP). For more information, visit www.ruraldirect.org.uk.
The administration of crofting grants for individual crofters will be delivered directly by the Scottish Government through the SRDP and the Crofter Housing Scheme which is currently under review.
A new publication entitled Supporting Crofting Communities has been produced to offer a comprehensive overview of how HIE works in partnership with several other bodies which support individual crofters and crofting activity, to ensure that crofting communities continue to thrive and become more resilient.
The document also illustrates the extensive support for crofters, crofting communities and the crofting system provided through a broad range of public and third sector organisations.
Gaelic, English and bilingual versions are available to download from the Related Documents section on this page.