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Family matters with latest grants

August 27, 2015
Fay's grandaughter, Layla, having fun

Fay’s grandaughter, Layla, having fun

Families in many parts of Scotland are to benefit from the latest grants from our Investing in Communities fund

Over the next three years 500 families across three regions will have access to a range of targeted support, thanks to an award of £488,614 to The Mentor Foundation (UK).  The award means that they can continue supporting kinship carers in Edinburgh and East Lothian for another three years and expand their work into Fife. The project will help people just like Fay Cuthill, 68 and her husband, Andy.

Fay and Andy have had kinship care of their grandchildren; Layla (16) and Arran (15) for six years after their mother become unable to look after them due to ill health. Fay said, ‘The Mentor Foundation has opened so many doors for us and made our family life so much easier.  We’ve had the chance to go on so many courses from understanding homework, computing classes, understanding brain development and first aid.  The kids are not left out either and they’ve gone on residential trips and had Christmas parties.  Every month on a Friday night there’s a get together of kinship carers and the children and it’s really helped everyone to bond together.

‘If we hadn’t been helped by Mentor UK there’s a really good chance that things would be pretty much in the air. They’ve taught us how to cope and given us a constant supply of emotional and financial advice.

‘What makes Mentor UK special is that they are as equally involved with the children as the carers and I’ve come to appreciate that if the kids are happy there’s a very good chance that the carers will be happy too.’

 Scotland Director, Heather McVeigh, said: “I am so grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for providing us with this opportunity to continue to provide hands on support to kinship families.  By building on their knowledge and skills as well as empowering carers and the children in their care to thrive, we have witnessed the growth of strong, resilient and happy families.  This funding, over the next three years, will enable us to build on this work, enhance our youth provision as well as raising kinship care to the public arena.”

How to avoid your application being unsuccessful

August 26, 2015

It’s the day you get the decision on your funding application. Unfortunately, it’s bad news. Despite all your time and effort your application was unsuccessful. You might wonder why this happened and/or what can you do to make it successful next time. This blog will outline the most prominent reasons why applications are unsuccessful. If you turn these around the other way it could lead to a positive and successful application!

Applying for items we cannot fund

Check the guidance for the application you are applying for to find out what can and cannot be funded.

Not applying in enough time

You might have to apply up to four months before the funding is needed for.Newmains Community Trust 250

Not meeting an outcome

We love projects making a positive change to Scotland’s communities. Every project needs to achieve an outcome of the fund being applied to.

Outcome isn’t specific enough

Funding is competitive so we look for a strong rather than weak outcome being met. Also, try to target one or maybe two outcomes rather than three or four. Unless we specify otherwise, only one outcome has to be met.

Applying for curricular activities

If you’re a school or working with schools, the project has to be extra-curricular. This has to be both an extra-curricular activity and out with core school times.

Applying for arts or heritage projects

We are unable to consider arts and/or heritage focused projects. All projects have to be community focused. The only exception to this is through Awards for All. This can consider community or sports. Please note sportscotland makes up part of Awards for All. If you are a sports club, please contact sportscotland before applying.

Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living 250Applying for general costs rather than project costs

We are looking for what you do to have an impact for communities. General or organisational costs might be limited in doing this. A particular project should be more direct in helping people.

Lack or no evidence of need

The best way to look at this is ‘how do you know there is a requirement (a need) to do something such as a project?’ The amount of need might vary depending on the level of funding but overall think about ‘needs’ rather than ‘wants’ or wishlists.

Other help

If you need tips on applying for our grants of up to £10,000, you can view a recording of a Webinar on this.

For anything else you want to check, please feel free to email us on

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We’re talking new programmes

August 13, 2015

high res corporate logo - pinkAs our regular Scotland blog readers will know, we will be launching our new Scotland funding programmes later this year. So far we’ve had some great feedback on our emerging plans through this blog, one to one conversations and meetings with many of our key stakeholders.

Over the next few weeks we will be holding some round table events around some of the specific themes our programmes will cover:

  • Helping people live more connected lives by tackling isolation, loss and loneliness
  • Investing in future lives by supporting children, young people and families experiencing challenging circumstances
  • Promoting safer and more equal lives by tackling abuse and discrimination

These will allow us to have a conversation with a range of organisations working in and across these areas about the people they work with. By doing this, we hope to gain a better understanding of how our proposed approach and focus over the next few years could help people to overcome challenges and improve their life chances. This feedback will be valuable in helping us to test and refine our new programmes before they are launched.

If you’re interested in feeding in to these discussions you can register for an event via the links below. Please note, places on these sessions are limited but you can also send us your comments by email at

Click on the relevant event for more information, or to sign up:

Round table: Tackling Isolation – Wed 19 August

Round table: Supporting Families – Mon 24 August

Round table: More Equal Lives – Thu 3 September

Help shape wellbeing research

August 10, 2015

We are committed to supporting work that promotes the wellbeing of people in communities, from funding small and fantastic community projects across Scotland, to promoting the work of larger organisations focused on improving wellbeing. We are therefore delighted to be supporting the UK-wide What Works Centre for Wellbeing to engage with people in Scotland.

In this guest blog, Hannah Wheatley from the Wellbeing Team within the New Economics Foundation tells us more about this initiative and invites you to get involved….

The What Works Network has recently launched the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, a UK government-funded initiative aiming to enable a range of stakeholders to access evidence on wellbeing.

In 2011, the Office for National Statistics began measuring wellbeing across the UK, and there is a growing movement to consider wellbeing as a key outcome of policy and service delivery. The question now is how to use the data, and other evidence on wellbeing, to create better policies and practices. The new What Works Centre for Wellbeing aims to answer this question, bringing together robust evidence of what works and sharing that evidence with those areas and organisations that can use it to best effect.

One strand of the centre will focus on Community Wellbeing. Over the next three years, this consortium will be bringing together evidence on what community-level factors determine wellbeing. The aim is to identify steps that government as well as community organisations can take to improve wellbeing.

Where you come in

The community evidence programme is hosting ten stakeholder engagement workshops in rosemount-lifelong-learning-centre3
various cities across the UK to shape the scope of our research. These workshops will explore how wellbeing evidence can be useful to those working in a range of sectors including local government, the voluntary and community sector, public health, housing and the private sector. The issues the What Works Centre focuses on will be determined based on this stakeholder engagement, so the workshops represent an important early opportunity to influence the Centre’s work.

One of these events will be a stakeholder engagement workshop at the Big Lottery Fund’s office in Atlantic Quay in Glasgow on the morning of 17th September 2015.

If you are interested in being involved in this workshop, please email us.

Follow this link to find out more about Community Wellbeing.

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Help us find the National Lottery project of the year

August 4, 2015

For the last 25 years The Sunday Mail Great Scot Awards have been championing everything that’s great about Scotland.  The Awards take great pride in honouring the nation’s unsung heroes and celebrating their courage, determination and selflessness.

This year,  The Sunday Mail are pulling out all the stops to make sure the event  is the most spectacular yet and we are delighted to announce that, for the very first time, the National Lottery will have its own category.

Great Scot logoThis award will be presented to a project that has used Lottery funding, large or small, to make a positive impact in their community. This could be a project working in the arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport or the voluntary/charity sector.

We are looking for you to get involved and have your say. Is there a Big Lottery funded organisation or group you know of that has made life changing differences for the people around them?  If you do, it’s really easy to nominate, go online to the website.   You will be asked for some basic details and a short submission, of no more than 500 words, detailing the reasons for your nomination.  The deadline for entries is Monday 7 September 2015.

Since the first ceremony in 1991, more than 200 awards have been handed out and tribute has been paid to thousands of ordinary people who have achieved the extraordinary. You can find out more about past winners here.

The winner will be revealed at a glittering gala dinner at the Hilton Hotel Glasgow on Saturday 17 October.