With the summer months typically quiet for outreach and events, things are ramping up again towards the end of the year! If you are looking to come and talk to us about funding over the next months, the should be plenty of opportunities to do so from now until November, as we enter ‘event season’.
In September we’ll be arriving in the Northern Isles for a mini-tour taking in Shetland and Orkney. We’ll also be at a range of conferences and funding events around the central belt.
The events are listed below, and shown on the interactive map along with details of how to get involved. Just click on the relevant map marker for more information.
|Thu 1st Sept
CoSLA Conference Centre, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh, EH12 5BH
|Sign up on SURF’s website or contact Emma Scott (0141 440 6392)|
|Sun & Mon 4&5th Sept
|Development Trusts Association Scotland conference
Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld, G68 0EW
|Sign up on DTAS website|
|Tue 6th Sept
1400-1600 and 1700-1900
|Orkney Islands Council and Voluntary Action Orkney Funding Info Sessions
King Street Halls, Kirkwall, KW15 1JF
|Contact Meghan McEwen|
|Wed 7th Sept
|Shetland Islands Council Funding Info Session
Isleburgh Community Centre, ZE1 0EQ
|Contact Michael Duncan or Elsa Manson on 01595 743828 / 01595 743827 or by email|
|Wed 7th Sept
|Shetland Islands Council Funding Info Session
Town Hall Chamber, Lerwick, ZE1 0JL
|Contact Michael Duncan or Elsa Manson on 01595 743828 / 01595 743827 / email@example.com|
|Tues 13th Sept
|Woodlands Community Development Trust funding event
Albany Centre, 44 Ashley St, Glasgow
|Details on WCDT website|
|Wed 14th Sept
|Engage Renfrewshire Funding Fayre
Paisley Town Hall, PA1 1JF
|Fri 16th Sept
AM and early PM
|Constituency Funding Fair – Offices of Angus MacDonald MSP and Michael Matheson MSP
Park Hotel, Falkirk, FK1 5RY
|Contact Michael Matheson MSP’s office on 01324629271 for info|
|Weds 28th Sept
|CRNS Members Seminar
Old Churches House, 1 Kirk St, Dunblane, FK15 0AN
We have a potentially busy couple of months coming up, so there should be plenty of opportunities to come and meet us. Before the end of 2016 we should also be at events in Inverness, East Lothian, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, and Aberdeenshire. We’ll also be at a number of conferences and events with a national focus. More on those soon!
In the meantime, make sure you follow us on Twitter @BIGScotland for the latest on all these events, and any others coming up.
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As we approach the two year mark since launching our latest Our Place initiative, we wanted to share with you some of our learning so far. So we asked our Policy and Learning Advisor Mhairi Reid to tell us more…
Challenging and rewarding.
These are the most common words people use when I ask them to describe what it’s like to be involved in Our Place. The Our Place approach is different to the way that we would usually distribute Lottery funding as for the first couple of years it’s not really about making grants. Instead, it’s about community building and supporting local people and groups to think about what they want to do in their community and how they can make that happen.
We are fast-approaching the two-year mark and, as we look to share stories about people’s experiences of Our Place and the difference it’s making, we thought now would be a good time to highlight five things we as a funder have learned about Our Place so far.
- Take your time and listen
Most of the communities we are working with have seen initiatives and programmes come and go, and there is understandably some scepticism towards ‘outsiders’ who waltz in with a pot of money, wanting to ‘help’. It’s crucial to get to know people in their own environment, find out their histories and their aspirations, and then begin working together at a pace that feels right for the community. We have found that it usually takes at least a year to build trust and develop credible relationships with local people and groups, and with key partners such as local authorities. Most people therefore appreciate the long-term nature of Our Place, which provides five years of Community Builder support and up to a further five years of support from Big Lottery Fund staff.
- Go with the flow
We think it’s useful to set out a broad approach and timeframe so that you can explain to people why and how you’d like to work them. The Our Place approach draws on many different experiences of working with communities, and acknowledges the similarities that exist between communities. However, the broad outcomes and the lack of specific outputs and targets is a reflection of our understanding that every community is different. Gantt charts that set out in great detail exactly what will happen and when it will happen are completely pointless if you are genuinely committed to Asset Based Community Development and empowering people to pursue a life of their own choosing.
- Constantly question the rule book
Funders have a responsibility to safeguard the money they distribute, and rules and risk assessments relating to this are often in place for very good reasons. That said, in the case of Our Place, the money belongs to the seven communities we are working with and it would be counterintuitive to impose a long, strict set of rules around how to spend that money. So, we are constantly questioning our processes and challenging ourselves to ensure that, wherever possible, we support those activities that the community believes will make a real difference.
- Strive for inclusion
Anyone can get involved in Our Place. That’s easy to say, but not always easy to achieve. One of the biggest challenges in Our Place is identifying where power resides in a community, then working with those people and groups and encouraging them to see beyond their own ideas. The initial stages provide lots of opportunities for a range of people to engage in conversations and community-led activities. However, maintaining that level of engagement is a constant challenge as you support a community to take the lead. Working groups can often become smaller and there’s a danger that key groups of people are seen as representative of the whole community. We now recognise that a conscious and continuous effort has to be made to ensure those least connected to community activity are identified and welcomed in.
- Celebrate the small things
Each Our Place community has easy access to small amounts of money through their Community Builder to facilitate activity that benefits the local community, and this is overwhelmingly the thing that people prize the most when they talk about the first two years of Our Place. The Community Chest has supported the delivery of community events, enabled people to try new things, provided opportunities to visit and be inspired by other communities, and more. We’d recommend implementing this kind of resource as we are delighted to see the impact the Community Chest is having on improving people’s confidence, raising community spirit and increasing citizen-led activity.
Mhairi’s blog is the first of a series of Our Place blogs coming your way over the next couple of months. Come back soon to hear some of the fantastic stories coming out of the Our Place journey.
Today, as we announce our first Celebrate awards, we want to remind you of the fantastic opportunity to apply for a £5,000 award to bring your community together. You could follow in the footsteps of the Darvel Music Company and Glasgow Afghan United, just two of the successful 15 organisations that filled in an application form and are now preparing to hold their own community inspired events.
Through Celebrate we have £575,000 available for Scottish groups of all shapes and sizes to run their own events or activities that allow people to celebrate what makes their local community special. It could be something from your local community’s history or a community hero. Or maybe you’d like to get to know your neighbours better? Voluntary and community organisations, schools and statutory bodies are all able to apply.
Looking for inspiration? Here are some examples of where Celebrate funding has gone today:
Darvel Music Company will hold a free community festival featuring music, film, and arts and crafts workshops.
Glasgow Afghan United will deliver four cultural events that will bring BME people, refugees and asylum seekers together to meet new people and to learn about Scottish culture and heritage
Braehead, Broomridge & District Community Development Trust will organise monthly barbeques and an end of harvest season event in their community garden.
Islay & Jura Community Enterprises Limited will celebrate its 25th anniversary by bringing people, young and old, together for a birthday celebration.
Encouraging groups to apply, Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “Celebrate gives people the chance to come together, whether that’s to mark something important to their community or simply get to know your neighbours better. We want to celebrate what makes your local community great, so I’d encourage groups of all sizes to get in touch with us with their ideas.”
Groups are encouraged to submit their applications early to avoid disappointment as once funds have been allocated, Celebrate will close to new applications. If you have an idea for funding, first check our website to make sure you are eligible, and download an application form from there.
So, how will you celebrate?
It is now over three weeks since Community Assets opened and interest is very high. We’ve been getting far more phone calls and emails than normal as a result of this. Many of these have been fairly complex. Due to this increase, it has been taking us longer than usual to reply. Sorry if you’ve been affected by this and do please bear with us.
We have also been getting lots of questions that are unfortunately a less good fit with Community Assets.
Based on the budget for this funding, we are only expecting to fund between 10 and 15 communities over the next year. It means the level of competition for grants will be very high. We will in turn only encourage requests that will very strongly address inequality or disadvantage.
What we’re less likely to consider
Although we realise the benefits of the work of these organisations, we’ve found a harder case for applying might be from:
- Sports groups delivering sports only activities
- Scout groups
- Heritage focused
- Men’s sheds
- Play parks or park improvements
- Community Councils
- Churches (when the church will still own it)
- Car parks
From all organisations, requests we are less likely to consider are:
- General refurbishment
- A lease (unless exceptional circumstances are involved)
- A building that will only be used for headquarters
If you applied to us before to Growing Community Assets and it was unsuccessful, this doesn’t mean it will automatically be considered for Community Assets. At a minimum, we will expect you to have addressed any issues raised in the feedback you received from us.
Meeting before you apply
Due to the volume of queries we are receiving, unfortunately we won’t be able to meet with applicants. As much as we would like to do this, initial contact will normally be by email or phone (0300 123 7110).
We will visit you if there’s potential
After the initial contact, if we feel there is potential for you being considered, one of our Funding Officers and Capital Advisers will arrange to visit you. More information on this is on page 3 of the Guidance Notes.
We are working on a new improved online community for organisations we’ve funded! Our online community team would love to hear from you about how this should work. Here’s what they have to say…
In this blog Steve Keene, our digital manager, talks us through the improvements we will be making to our Online Community.
Bringing people together
Every year we award millions of pounds of the National Lottery’s good cause money across the UK. We know that money makes a huge difference, but we also think there is a real opportunity to do even more to support those we have funded.
I hear lots of stories about groups delivering really valuable work who would like to speak to other groups. They would like to learn from them, pick their brains, share knowledge, problems and opportunities. Sometimes that happens through existing networks. Sometimes it is hard to reach the right people.
Our aim to improve the online community
We think we’re really well placed to bring those groups together, so they can help each other. We’ve begun a project to make major improvements to our…
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