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Get involved or you’ll get left behind

January 30, 2015

Get involved or you’ll get left behind. That’s according to a student in Fife who will this week appear on the Community Channel’s Brilliant Scotland programme, supported by the Big Lottery Fund.

Peter Murray, Brilliant Scotland programme producer and Scotland outreach manager for the Media Trust tells us more:

It looks almost certain now that young Scots will become the first under-18s to vote in a general election next year and so “Brilliant Scotland” – to be broadcast from this Sunday (01 February) on the Community Channel – has been speaking to 16 and 17 year olds who show just how informed, inquisitive and engaged they are about the future of Scotland as a whole as well as their own communities.


#BrilliantScotland reporter, Ted Simpson (right) filming at Woodmill High School, Dunfermline

Jack Baker – a student at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline – said: “The world is changing.

“So everyone – no matter how young you are, no matter how old you are – you have to be involved with the change, or I think you’ll get left behind.”

Woodmill High School was the focus of our report because one of the students, Erin Rooney had made a film last year encouraging young people to register to vote – and to examine the issues carefully in the run-up to the September referendum.

“People need to get informed,” she says now, looking ahead to that historic Holyrood election in 2016 which will see 16 and 17 year olds cast a vote for the first time ever in a general election anywhere in the UK. “They definitely need to look and see what they want, and not just go for it when it comes to voting.”

Another Woodmill student, Beth O’Reilly added: “I think [politicians] could sway my vote if they were more engaged in social media.”

Engagement in social media is a thread running through much of this fourth edition of the Brilliant Scotland series, from the Facebook postings by Scottie dog shop mascot Gillebrìde at the Coffee and Craic social enterprise cafe in Glasgow, or student ambassadors campaigning against sexual violence in Aberdeen, to the tireless blogger and dementia care campaigner, Tommy Whitelaw.

Elsewhere in the programme, we also spend time playing “frogs and sharks” with a daring and enthusiastic group of nursery school children learning to ride a bike as part of CTC Scotland’s fast-moving Play on Pedals project.

Brilliant Scotland is part of Community Channel’s Do Something Brilliant campaign, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which celebrates local charities, communities and individuals from different corners of the UK, to inspire audiences to make small changes that make a big difference to themselves or their community. The campaign is driven by Community Channel and the website where a whole host of ‘little brilliant things’ are housed to celebrate what’s on offer locally and provide suggestions for people to get involved.

Farah Bradford and Kyle Smith host the 4th Edition of Brilliant Scotland on the Community Channel at 9.00pm this Sunday. It will be repeated at 07.00am on Monday 02 February and again on Saturday 07 February at 06.00am.

The programme will also be available on-demand on YouTube.





Your burning questions – January 2015

January 29, 2015

Our Scotland Advice Team receive an average of 700 enquiries every month. We’re here to give advice and support to organisations before they apply for funding. Below are three of our most common questions asked recently.

Are Life Transitions and Investing in Communities two different funds?

Investing in Communities is an overall fund that has three ‘investment areas’, which focus on different 27/05/09 - 09052701 - BIG LOTTERY FUND  KIRKCALDY  Lee-anne Lamontpriorities. Life Transitions is one of these investment areas along with Growing Community Assets and Supporting 21st Century Life.

We’re ready to submit our Awards for All application. What else do we need to send you along with the application?

All we need at this point is a completed application. If we need anything else we will contact you after your application comes into us. A completed application can be emailed to

What length of funding is available from Investing in Communities?

You can apply for between one and five years.

If you have any other questions about our funding, you can go to Ask BIG, where we give answers to other commonly asked questions.

Alternatively, if you can’t find your answer at Ask BIG, you can email us at

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The change in my son

January 27, 2015

A charity working with children under five with development disabilities, and their families, has received a Communities and Families award to help meet the demand for its services.

Speur-Ghlan Early Intervention Service works with families across the country providing individualized, play based therapy to children, including those with autism, to support their development in key areas such as communication, interaction, play and motor skills.  Today’s award of £9,960 will enable the group to run a parent training and coaching project for families in North Ayrshire.

Sandy Thompson with his son Alex

Sandy Thompson with his son Alex

One parent who will benefit from today’s grant is Sandy Thompson from Ayrshire who credits the charity for the change he has seen in his three year old son Alex.

Sandy says: “My son Alex has been attending Speur Ghlan for the past year now. Alex at eighteen months wasn’t reaching his milestones which was a very scary and worrying time, especially as we had very little knowledge of why. I read about Speur Ghlan in a national newspaper and straight away was on the phone to them.  We arranged a consultation and they assessed Alex a couple of months later. Soon he was attending a couple of times a week and had his own plan and strategies put in place specific to his needs.

“For the first time in months we, as a family, had a better understanding of how to engage with Alex and how to get his attention and build on interaction.  This was the help we had been so desperately looking for. We are now looking forward to the future as Alex continues to develop and for this I will be forever in their debt.”

Speur-Ghlan uses a range of research-based approaches, including some of the most regarded therapies such as Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), which their training course is based on.

Ruth Glynne-Owen, Founder and Chief Executive explains more:  “This grant will enable us to

'Graduates' from a recent parent training course run by Speur-Ghlan

‘Graduates’ from a parent training course run by Speur-Ghlan

support many more families to connect more effectively with their child through focused parent training and coaching, while also providing connections with other families nearby. We are the only place in Scotland that uses an approach called Pivotal Response Treatment, which has shown significantly better results for children whose parents have accessed this training versus the more generic autism training that is currently offered. This is why this project is so important to us, not only because of the support we can offer parents, but also the impact that this training will have on their child’s ongoing development. We’re delighted to receive this Communities and Families award as it will help us to make an important difference to so many lives.”

Speur-Ghlan Early Intervention Service is one of 26 groups sharing in the latest grants from the Communities and Families fund. If your group is interested in applying to this fund – supported by us and the Scottish Government – you can find out more on our website or call our BIG Advice team on 0300 123 7110 to discuss your project idea.

New funding portfolio – We’re busy talking!

January 23, 2015

A couple of weeks ago Big Lottery Fund’s Scotland Director, Jackie Killeen, wrote about our early thinking on the new funding portfolio that we intend to launch in Autumn 2015. You can read that blog here.Application Materials
To help us increase our understanding and appreciation of the issues which might impact the shape of our new funding portfolio we have:


• Commissioned a YouGov opinion survey to gather the thoughts of the general public. The results indicated that people were keen to see lottery funding going to a wide range of projects. Community activities, projects for people with disabilities and social enterprises appeared to be quite popular choices.

• Surveyed local authority external funding officers to get their perspective based on their daily work experiences. Again, once we’ve analysed the results we’ll let you know the hot topics arising and how we’ll follow up on them.

• Selected 16 Big Lottery Fund applicants/grantholders to form a Reference Panel. This panel is predominantly made up of third sector organisations with representation from a local authority too. The panel will share their experiences and ideas as well as commenting on the new funding portfolio as it develops.

• Selected a facilitator for the Reference Panel. Jenni Inglis has great experience and will create interesting and engaging meetings to get the best out of the Reference Panel.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be:

• Listening to people from BME communities as they tell their stories of community-led activity, as well as hearing about some of the challenges faced and what would support more activity in the future.

• Meeting with the Scottish Government to cross reference their thinking with our early funding developments.

• Hosting a series of round tables about specific themes such as prevention, vital support and community-led work.


You can email your thoughts on the development of our new funding portfolio to
You can follow the journey to our new portfolio and comment on Twitter @Bigscotland #2020funding or on Facebook, Big Lottery Fund Scotland

You can also follow the journey by subscribing to
Finally, you can leave comments at the bottom of this blog

Investing in Communities: first awards of 2015

January 9, 2015

2015 is off to a great start for Headway Ayrshire.  The organisation, which supports people who have an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and their families, is one of 11 groups sharing in the latest grants from our Investing in Communities fund.

Here 56 year old Shirley Marshall from Prestwick tells us why a grant of £225,338 to Headway Ayrshire, will play a vital part in providing much needed support for people like her and her husband John.

John and Shirley on their wedding day in 2010

John and Shirley on their wedding day in 2010

“In 2003 my husband John, was originally diagnosed with epilepsy. He was then diagnosed with a brain tumour and four more tumours were found over the following nine years. John was a landscaper for Scottish Power; he loved his job and led a very active life.  As a result of his illness he is not able to work and day to day living is extremely challenging. Memory, the ability to process decisions, epilepsy, depression and poor balance are just some of the issues that affect my husband on a daily basis. We have tried to make the best of an extremely difficult and distressing situation over the years having limited input from various agencies, none of whom appeared to possess the knowledge and experience of brain injury as Headway Ayrshire.

I first became aware of Headway in 2013 and their support has been invaluable to us since then.  I have received several home visits from a Client and Family Support worker and Benefits and Training Officer who have both provided emotional and practical support to me.  This led to me attending a Carer’s Education course at Headway and, at the same time, John began a weekly literacy, numeracy and cognitive course which has helped him so much.

As a result we now have an improved understanding of ABI and all of its associated problems.  Headway has provided us with the tools and strategies to cope with the different issues we face as a couple.  Their ongoing support and commitment to our wellbeing has made a huge difference to both of our lives.”

Jane Sloan, the Acquired Brain Injury Advisor to Headway Ayrshire adds: “This generous award will ensure the sustainability of the charity over the next three years. It will allow us to improve the quality of the diverse services we provide to people with Acquired Brain Injury, their families and carers.”

Headway Ayrshire is amongst 11 projects sharing in £5,717,582 from the Fund’s Investing in Communities programme.


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