Skip to content

Ethnic Minorities Law Centre

April 24, 2014

A one of a kind service providing legal advice and representation for people from Scotland’s black and ethnic minority communities  (BME) has received a Big Lottery Fund award of over half a million pounds.

Ethnic Minorities Law Centre is the only dedicated centre in the UK delivering a range of legal advice and assistance to Scottish BME communities.

The £562,985 award will allow the organisation to further develop partnerships with a range of local advice agencies to make sure that their work is embedded at a local level. This will mean that many more people will have access to advice on complex legal issues, over the next three years.

The grant will also be used to provide a programme of training, as well as a telephone advice service for local advice agencies and Citizen Advice Bureaux to assist their understanding of specific areas of law.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn explains more: “The Ethnic Minorities Law Centre is a highly respected organisation which has great expertise in the legal issues affecting Scotland’s black and ethnic minority communities. It offers a one of a kind service and, through a previous Big Lottery Fund project, was able to introduce a more effective way of providing high quality and culturally sensitive legal advice to thousands of people across Scotland.

“I am delighted that we are awarding over half a million pounds to enable them to expand on this existing work by creating new partnerships with local advice agencies. Working with key organisations on the ground will enable this project to reach out to many more people from BME communities who would otherwise have nowhere to turn.”

Jonathan Squire MBE, Convenor EMLC Board of Directors, said: “This award is a reflection of the commitment of the Big Lottery Fund towards the black and minority ethnic communities in Scotland.  We are delighted that the Ethnic Minorities Law Centre has been given the opportunity to continue this important work.”

Flags of Gratitude

April 23, 2014

The Big Lottery Fund Scotland had a very special start to the week, thanks to a visit from staff and beneficiaries from the Annexe Connects project in Partick .  The group of 23 people brought along a “Thank You “ flag which they had designed and made themselves to show the personal difference the project has made to them over the last three years. Annexe Connects was one of the first projects to receive a grant from our Investing in Communities fund back in 2011.

Annexe Connects waving their flags of thanks

Annexe Connects waving their flags of thanks

The project, which received £275,597, works with vulnerable and isolated older people in the area to help them re-connect to their community.  The range of activities on offer helps to improve physical and mental health and includes the Partick Pluckers (a ukulele group), as well as circle dancing and community film nights.

Beatrice MacDuff, 76, said, “Friendship and love, that’s what we have all found here.  Everyone cares for each other and we all wanted to make our flags to say thank you. I come to the Annexe on a Monday for ukulele lessons and a healthy living class on a Thursday.  There’s something going on for everyone and when I get out of my bed in the morning I can’t get here quickly enough.  I’ve been coming here for about a year now and before that my life was a bit flat but now I have loads of things to look forward to.  My flag is the tree of happiness and that’s how I feel every time I am in the building.”

Seventy seven year old Janet Hillan said, “Annexe Connects has given me a whole new attitude to life.  Over the last few years I’ve had a few health problems but now I am having the time of my life.  I didn’t really get out of the house much before and wasn’t used to mixing with people but I’ve changed so much since coming here.  I go to meditation, have reiki treatments and am there every other day.  My flag says “thank you, thank you, thank you” as it’s the best four years I have ever had.”

Investing in Scottish food banks

April 16, 2014

A new project which will develop the network of food banks across Scotland has received a Big Lottery Fund award of £944,708.  The Trussell Trust will use the funding to employ a team of dedicated staff who will provide training, support and guidance to new and existing food banks across the country.

This week the Trussell Trust released new figures confirming that 71,428  Scots relied on food banks to feed themselves over the last year.

Falkirk food bank volunteer, Jason Walton and Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn and

Falkirk food bank volunteer, Jason Walton and Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn

One of these people was Jason Walton, 41, from Falkirk. Originally from Kent, Jason moved to Falkirk five years ago and not long after found himself homeless. At his lowest and in need of emergency food he was referred  to the food bank by local charity, Headway . One week later he returned, this time to offer his services as a volunteer.

He says: “You never really understand what it means to be down and out until you are there yourself. I had been used to having a good job and money in my pocket so when I became homeless, with nowhere to turn, I realised I had hit an all time low.

“I’ve now overcome that time in my life and am currently staying in temporary housing so I feel now is the right time to give something back. I was so thankful for the support of the food bank and can really empathise with those who rely on their food parcels. Volunteering here keeps me busy and it’s great to know that I am really helping people in the community.”

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “Over five years our award to the Trussell Trust will help support around 400,000 people across the country who are struggling with issues such as hunger, poverty and unemployment.  By investing in this Scotland wide project, our funding will build a network of support around some of the most vulnerable people through providing access to emergency food relief.”

In its approach the Trussell Trust will identify and target those areas with high levels of deprivation where there is no emergency food provision. It will then provide the necessary support and training to local groups to help them set up a foodbank in their area.


Falkirk food bank delivers food parcels to local people

Ewan Gurr, Scotland Development Officer, The Trussell Trust, added: “The massive rise in demand for emergency food relief highlights the extent to which foodbanks are a lifeline to many Scottish families. This generous contribution to The Trussell Trust will enhance the support in place for the men, women and children using our foodbanks and help develop provision in areas where that support does not currently exist.”

Today’s award comes from the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities fund which is aimed at projects that support those communities, individuals and families in greatest need.

For more details on the Trussell Trust and their work in Scotland visit their website.


How to make your application complete

April 15, 2014

Filling out a funding application can take up a lot of your time. It will probably feel great to finally submit your application to us. But, before you do this, we recommend making sure your application is fully complete. Your application can only go for a decision once it is fully complete. Therefore, if you miss anything out, it could affect us offering you a grant. Generally, all applicants (no matter what type of organisation they are) have to provide the likes of financial accounts summary; home addresses; dates of births and landline phone numbers. An application cannot be considered for funding without these.

Here are some of the main parts to check you’ve completed before you submit your application.

Bank details

Your organisation’s bank account needs to be set-up before you apply to us. All sections below must be filled in.Bank detailsSummary of your most recent accounts

This information will come from your signed financial accounts or income and expenditure projection.

Accounts details


Date of birth, home address and phone numbers

These are needed for all contacts.Contact detailsSenior contactSenior contactStill unsure of what is needed?

Please get in touch with us on or 0300 123 7110. Even if it seems like an obvious question, we prefer you to ask this before you apply – it could save a lot of time afterwards.

Family mediation support

April 14, 2014

Five local projects supporting child contact centres in different parts of the country are today (14 APRIL) sharing in over £1.5 million from our Investing in Communities fund.

The funding goes to the following five organisations: Relationships Scotland Orkney; Relationships Scotland Borders; Relationships Scotland Family Mediation Tayside and Fife; Family Mediation Argyll & Bute and Family Mediation Central Scotland.

shutterstock_74500801Affiliated to Relationships Scotland, these local projects provide a network of support helping to guide families through change and disruption, particularly where this has occurred as a result of separation, divorce or family restructuring.

Big Lottery Fund, Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn said: “Each day many families across Scotland experience the trauma and distress of family breakdown. Today’s investment will provide additional support for parents, carers and children through family mediation which is vital in bringing families together to reduce conflict and agree on practical, workable arrangements for the future. While these projects are affiliated to Relationships Scotland, they each have their own unique priorities which are one of their biggest strengths. I am delighted to see this funding reaching into those local communities where it is needed most.”

Welcoming the news Stuart Valentine, Chief Executive of Relationships Scotland, said: “Relationships Scotland is delighted that the Big Lottery in Scotland has provided £1.5m over 5 years to support child contact centres across the country. Child contact centres play a vital role in ensuring that children maintain their relationships with both parents following separation. This new money will help ensure that many of our more vulnerable families will receive new specialist support. This will include help for non-resident parents to establish and develop relationships with their children, often for the first time. Additional support will also be offered to help separated couples work together to care for their children, thereby providing the stability and security that will help enable their children to thrive.”

Full details on the successful five local projects are available here.