Community Owned Land & Property

Community Owned Churches

Tips and links from SCOTO Network members and others on the purchasing, repurposing and management of churches.
We've had increasing interest from members about the issue of churches in their area closing due to declining worshipers and a shortage of ministers. There's a fear that these buildings, usually the most prominent feature of a communities skyline, will be left abandoned or sold on the open market. These buildings are often vital hubs to local neighbourhoods providing various community activities and services, which could also be lost.

Here's a number of links to information which the SCOTO Network have provided on all issues regarding churches.

Ask SCOTO if you need specific information or if you have good data to share.


Heritage Trust Network is UK membership organisation run by people who have delivered amazing heritage projects against all the odds. Run by professional volunteers the organisation provides an invaluable platform for members by way of peer-to-peer support, knowledge sharing and skills development. They have a useful page of information for communities working with church buildings, of digital resources, case studies and events from across Scotland and England.

Community Land Scotland have over 100 members across Scotland and aim to be a voice for community landowners. They provide support and advice throughout the whole process of a community buy-out from where to get funding and feasibility studies to post -acquisition events and training.

Plunkett Foundation is a  UK wide national charity that supports rural communities to manage the issues of running community businesses. The Plunkett Foundation has a network of advisers across the UK that provide support to over 600 community businesses from pubs to farms.


Exploring Opportunities: Churches and Tourism - Online Event
Heritage Trust Network and Historic Churches Scotland partnered with SCOTO in early July to host an event aimed at any group contemplating the future of their church building, this event focused on how church buildings can play a part in your local tourism offering.

Below you'll find links to the organisations involved and links to the recordings of the event:

Historic Churches Scotland -

Heritage Trust

Your Church Your Community - Guidance for communities exploring future uses for a church building by DTAS


Champing Presentation

SCOTO - Churches & Community Led Tourism

Strathnaver Museum Presentation


Scottish Land Fund  supports rural and urban communities to become more resilient and sustainable through the ownership and management of land and land assets.

The Community Right to Buy Fund provides support for communities to access professional services, where needed, to help with registering an interest under Community Right to Buy legislation. This could include legal title searches or help with mapping.

Funding Scotland is a service provided by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations to provide access to up-to-date, high-quality information on funding opportunities that is vital to third-sector organisations in Scotland.

Community Ownership Fund   has £150m to help communities across the UK to take ownership of assets at risk of closure. It will run until March 2025.

Quick Links

Historic Churches Scotland is a charity that saves historic churches at risk. They work with communities to secure the future of their churches through expert conservation and creative regeneration.

Development Trusts Association Scotland has many valuable documents on Community Right to Buy, feasibility and financial planning.

Buildings at Risk have a handy list of 101 uses for church buildings.

COSS has created a practical and comprehensive feasibility module which goes through the steps required for a community asset transfer.

Through the RIAS (The Royal Incoproration of Architects in Scotland) you can find, by postcode, architects who are classed as 'Competent in Working in the Historic Built Environment'.

Champing™ is the unique concept of camping overnight in historic churches, brought to the world by The Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity protecting historic churches at risk. By supporting Champing, you’re also helping to preserve these ancient spaces for the future.