A £6 million fund has been launched to help more rural communities in Scotland buy land. The cash from the Scottish Government is available over the next three years. Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson launched the scheme at the Galson Estate in Lewis where locals took part in a successful buyout five years ago. He said such deals can \"bring tremendous benefits both to communities themselves and Scotland as a whole\". Mr Stevenson hailed the Galson Estate as a \"fantastic example of what a community buyout can achieve\". The minister said: \"Land ownership is key to building independent, resilient rural communities and creating a sense of confidence and community empowerment. \"That\'s why the Scottish Government continues to fully support buyouts and is committed to providing opportunities for rural communities to acquire land.\" The Scottish Land Fund will be delivered by Big Lottery Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Mr Stevenson said both the organisations would \"ensure the fund makes the best use of existing resources and expertise to maximise the land fund\'s potential\". He added: \"These are exciting times for Scotland and this fund will help more of our rural areas to take control of their own destinies and build the successful, flourishing communities of tomorrow.\"