A youth hostel that was saved from closure will now be used to pump more money into the regeneration of a Moray village.
Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust started running the backpacker accommodation three years ago, amid fears visitors would have nowhere to stay.
During that time the number of tourists staying at The Smugglers Hostel in Tomintoul has more than doubled each year to 2,000.
Moray Council’s policy and resources committee has now unanimously backed transferring the ownership of the hostel and the village’s museum to the community to be run by the trust.
Now money spent by visitors staying in the village will go towards funding projects in the area, including a £500,000 refurbishment of the village museum.
Chairman Mark Finnie said: “It was going to shut if we hadn’t taken it over. It wasn’t making any money and other hotels were shutting too, it was quite worrying.
“We’ve really turned it round but there is a lot more potential with it. There aren’t many people staying in winter but we’re in a great location to attract skiers.”
New windows and a replacement heating system have already been lined up to refurbish the hostel, which is housed in a former primary school.
The trust is also planning on bringing the museum, which also doubles as a tourist information centre, into the 21st century.
Yesterday the group hailed taking ownership of the buildings as a big step to landing a £3.7million funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund next month.
Trust director Jennifer Stewart said: “This is exactly what we need to go forward. We’ve shown over the last three years that we’re worthy custodians of the buildings.
“We’re planning a total revamp of the museum. We want to gather oral history of the area and make them available as recordings – it’s a special place with lots of memories from gamekeepers and farmers.
“It’s all part of bringing the museum up to a standard that visitors expect of a modern attraction.”
Until now the trust was renting both buildings from the council. During the same meeting the Lossiemouth Town Hall management committee was also been granted £5,000 to improve the venue by purchasing new tables and chairs.