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We are OPEN!

November 26, 2015

Today we are delighted to open our new five-year £250 million funding scheme to applications. With a focus on helping people and communities most in need, groups across the country can now share these life changing funds.

Big Lottery Fund cupcakes to celebrate!

Big Lottery Fund cupcakes to celebrate!

To celebrate all our staff are out and about, visiting funded groups from Shetland to the Scottish Borders, and we can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to….@BIGScotland onTwitter and Big Scotland Facebook #BigScotland to find where we’ve been.

Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair paid a visit to Healthy n Happy in Rutherglen, to spread our good news, chatting with project workers and participants she said:

“I am delighted to announce our main funding offer is now open for business. We have refreshed and redeveloped our approach and focus so we will work with communities and organisations to support activity which is people centred, strengths based and has good local connections. We are sure our new approach will ensure our Lottery funds make a truly life-changing and inspirational difference to people across Scotland.

“We have also simplified our application process to make applying for funds more straightforward. We want to make it easier for those who have not applied to us before to do so now.”

The Big Lottery Fund supports thousands of groups across Scotland working from grassroots up to the large scale. Between now and 2020 groups across Scotland can apply for grants from £10,000 to £1 million to help finance activity that will improve both lives and communities across Scotland.

Floodlit Kelpies at the £25 million Helix Project, Big Lottery funded

Floodlit Kelpies at the £25 million Big Lottery funded Helix, Falkirk.

Healthy n Happy is a key organisation for community activity in Rutherglen, supported by local people as well as a range of partners and funders. Each year around 6,000 local people enjoy the activities on offer and the group has received £1.7 million from Big Lottery Fund Scotland for nine projects.

Brendan Rooney, Executive Director Healthy n Happy said: “We are delighted to host the Big Lottery Fund as they announce the launch of their new five-year funding scheme, and are pleased that strength based approaches have been recognised in this new programme. It will play a critical role in sustaining the valuable work of community-led organisations like Healthy n Happy for the next five years and beyond. We wish the Fund and all beneficiaries every success and we look forward to a continued excellent working partnership.”

For more information on our new plans, have a look at our website and remember you can contact us at

A strengths-based approach

November 24, 2015

The final post of our ‘3 new funding approaches blog series’ focuses on a strengths-based approach. An excellent example of this is the Phoenix Futures ‘Communities of Recovery Glasgow’ project.

What Big Lottery Fund Scotland loves about the project:

Phoenix Futures uses the experience and the strengths people bring right at the centre of how the project is delivered.  At the point of referral the project assesses the strengths and assets of each person,

The Big Shed Kitchen

and looks to develop those strengths in a way that helps them to live independently and continue in recovery. Each person is matched with a peer mentor or befriender with similar experiences, and over time they can follow a pathway to become a trained volunteer and be accredited as a peer mentor or befriender themselves. The approach is person centred and looks at what each individual wants to achieve and gives them support to find a way to meet those goals. The project staff are there to facilitate, safeguard and support, but not direct how each person approaches their own recovery.

The organisation was awarded £457,726 for a three year project.


How the project do it:
Tracy McConnell, Project Manager, Phoenix Futures, said: “At Phoenix we believe that everyone who is dependent on substances has the potential to rebuild their lives. Recovery is more than just putting the alcohol and drugs down, it’s about rebuilding a full, meaningful and productive life and where better to do that than within local communities.   Our focus is on supporting people to feel part of their community again and to ensure that this is for positive reasons.

“We carry out strength-based assessments on all of our mentees so we can understand what they are 17 250x250looking for from the service. Our service takes a person centred focus when working with individuals as we believe this is the only way to effectively support someone. In relation to treatment services there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach and we find that by focusing on what interests and skills people have then we can work from there to tailor make a support package that works. People should enjoy their recovery and not endure it and this is why we know it is so important to have service users involvement at the heart of all of our services.

As a team we are fully involved in local Recovery Community work and have strong links with many education and employability services that can also support our service users to realise their potential.
I believe that as long as the team are knowledgeable, willing to carry out research as to what opportunities are available for our volunteers and mentees we can deliver effective service.

“We work very closely with every mentee to ensure they get access to the information and support that they need.  Staff work with mentees to develop goals and help mentees decide on the best way to achieve them.  We review the care plan on a regular basis with the mentee and peer mentor to ensure everything is on track and to change or update the care plan when appropriate.”

“The goal of our Peer Mentoring Service is for both our peer mentors and peer mentees to feel empowered. This can be achieved in different ways, for example, for our mentees it may be that every day they feel that bit better about themselves or it could be through reducing their substance misuse or having the confidence to start attending a local support group or attend a college course. For our volunteers it could mean using their past experiences and turning them into positive ones by helping others, it could also mean that through volunteering they start to feel more work ready and can use their comprehensive training and learning from their role and use this to move on to further education and employment.”

For more information go to our website at


Our connected approach

November 23, 2015

Building good and strong connections is key to the success of any project.

In our series of blogs about our new approaches, we focus on connected. Read on to find out how the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice’s Butterfly Project, is a great example of an organisation establishing and cementing great connections which allow them to share learning and develop a better service for the young people they work with.

What Big Lottery Fund Scotland loved about the project:

This project is a great example of how good connections help an organisation to deliver a project that reaches further and has a greater impact than they could manage alone.

The partnership that manages the project has worked well over a number of years, and that connection and working relationship has been at the heart of all the success they have had.

While young people and their families are at the centre of what the Butterfly Project does, they also haven’t lost sight of communicating and working with schools, hospitals and all the other services those young people are interacting with.

The Butterfly Room at Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

The Butterfly Room at Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

The service and support they provide wouldn’t work as well if the formal and informal partnerships weren’t working together to support young people and their families through difficult times.

The organisation was awarded £371,623 for a five year project.

How they did it:

Rhona Baillie, Chief Executive, The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, said:  “The young people who use our service are central to everything we do and we would never make assumptions as to what they want.

“We have put together a participation strategy which runs through all of the services we offer to young people.  We check in with the young people regularly and they have a chance to give their feedback in various different ways- whether by filling in a structured questionnaire, bringing them in for a one to one or giving their feedback online.

“It’s vital that we tailor our package of support for each young person we work with.  We sit down and put together a plan of care with them which has to be flexible and work around their needs at any given time.

“By bringing the young people together we are creating a network from which they can get fantastic peer support from each other. It makes them feel that they are not the only young person who has lost a loved one and they are not alone.

“It’s also essential that we are well connected to other organisations. Across all the sectors we work with, bringing organisations together provides a range of the best skills and experiences.  We are constantly learning from each other and this brings strength and knowledge to what we do, leading to better outcomes for the young people. Our experience working closely together with other organisations and learning from each other’s models is very important – as is being open and honest with each other at all times.

Our overall aim is to give every young person we work with a coping strategy and to help them to build confidence to face the future.

For more information go to our website at

We are connected…

November 20, 2015

Our 3 new approaches (people-led, strengths-based and connected) are central to each of our new funding streams and will help us better understand and make good judgements about strengths, opportunities and issues in communities across Scotland.

The next addition to this week’s series of blog posts features a great example of a project that uses a connected approach.

Run by Faith in Community Scotland, the ‘Faith in Throughcare’ project links to community groups and organisations to create volunteering opportunities for people leaving prison.

What Big Lottery Fund Scotland loves about the project: 

faith in throughcareThe project connects prison leavers with their local community, establishing relationships and providing opportunity. Alongside volunteer opportunities, project team members support prison leavers by introducing them to support groups, recreational groups and social clubs in their local community.

Introducing a prison leaver to existing groups established in their community is another way to connect that individual to people and services who can offer support at a time of transition.

The organisation was awarded £901,471 in 2014 for a 5 year project.

How they did it:
Morag Sievwright, Development Co-ordinator, Faith in Throughcare, said: “When someone comes out of prison, they come back into the mix of the whole community, sometimes a community that stigmatises and isolates. By becoming a contributor to a community, rather than being perceived as a problem, someone returning from prison can be seen as a person with potential, build a new reputation, learn new skills and begin to feel values rather than criticised.

“This is why connecting with local organisations, faith and other faith in 2community groups is vitally important.  In particular connecting with faith groups, at the heart of their communities, opens up many volunteering opportunities and other resources.

“Supporting people leaving prison to access these opportunities in partner organisations increases the awareness in the local community of the issues affecting people after serving short prison sentences.”
“As community development workers, project staff get to know these other organisations and explore where we share values and aspirations. We risk assess. We develop a local reference group in each geographic community to advise us at grassroots level and this group is made up of representatives of the local faith and community groups we will work with. We determine how our participants might fit with any organisation offering opportunities for confidence building, learning and personal development. Our Volunteer Mentors ( who may be people who have been a prisoners themselves) may accompany the participant to an organisation and help the person settle in. This support could continue for a wee while until the participant becomes attached.”

CJW_0054“Numerous and varied activities and services are already there in all of the local communities we work in. They are there for everyone, but without our Mentors support, participants coming back from prison might not find their way into these at all, due to lack of trust, lack of self-confidence or lack of information. We are there to be community connectors and not another layer of services or a duplication of support that’s already available.”
The target is to help people develop their own positive relationships and networks which will enable them to enhance and transform their own lives, belong, contribute as active citizens – and have a quality of life that maintains them in the community.”

For more information go to our website

Our people-led approach

November 19, 2015

As we prepare to launch our new funding we‘d like to tell you about another project, Newmains Community Hub, which is a great example of one of our three approaches –people-led.

Run by Newmains Community Trust this newly opened facility lies in the heart of the local community, who have been central to its creation.

Robert Arthur outside the newly built centre in Newmains

Robert Arthur outside the newly built centre in Newmains

The centre was officially opened today by our Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn and we send our best wishes to Chairman, Robert Arthur, and everyone connected with the project.

What Big Lottery Fund Scotland loved about the project:

This community driven labour of love has resulted in a multi-purpose community facility from which a wide range of services and activities can be run. The new centre includes a library, meeting rooms, sports hall, youth zones and a cafe.

The project is part of the Our Place initiative, which gave the people of Newmains the chance to set their own local priorities on how Lottery money should be spent within their local area.

The community, decided, following wide consultation, to build a new purpose build centre with services run by and for local people.

The Newmains Community Trust, who run the facility, is also made up by people who live locally and they bring a dynamic mix of skills, experience and knowledge to the table.

Finally, the community was also heavily involved with managing the construction of the centre, which helped them develop useful skills and experience.

The organisation was awarded £2.4m in 2012 for a five year project.

How they did it

Robert Arthur, Chairman, Newmains Community Trust, said; “It may seem obvious but the most important thing is to give the local community what they want. It’s no use having a band spanking new building which is not going to be any use to people who live here. They have to be involved at every stage.

“The key is to do lots and lots of consultation and to keep on doing it. We spoke to local community groups, local businesses and went into schools as well. In the end we must have had around 30 public meetings over the course of a year and put leaflets and newsletters through countless doors.

“We have almost daily contact with local groups who use our services and our Development Officer does a lot of work to ensure we are kept up to speed with what they are doing. It’s so important to have procedures in place so you are constantly listening to what your community are telling you and asking for.

We have posters all over the big window at the front of our office asking what groups or activities local people want and that’s how our new gardening group and older people’s wellbeing group came to be set up in the last couple of months.

“Since the very beginning of this project our main goal has always been for this centre to be the place to go to in Newmains and to create and continue to develop a community asset for the whole community’s needs. For us, being people-led is all about inclusion not exclusion and involving all the members of your community from one through to 100.”