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Busting those Improving Lives grant myths

January 9, 2017

Thinking of applying for a large grant for Improving Lives? Then you’ve come to the right place as we go about clearing up some of the myths around applying for this funding.

As a recap, a large Improving Lives grant can provide funding above £150,000 for up to five years for activities that:

  • Support children, young people and families currently experiencing challenging circumstances
  • Support people that have experienced abuse
  • Tackle loss, isolation and loneliness
  • Challenge discrimination and support people affected by it.

We are looking to fund activities that meet our three approaches, these are; people-led, strengths based and connected.


Interested in applying? Then read on as we highlight the top eight myths we hear most about this fund…


You can’t apply for capital funding

We can consider some capital costs although major capital costs are less likely to be funded. We will not be able to fund capital costs only.


 You can’t have an Improving Lives grant if you have another Big Lottery Fund grant

No, you can apply to Improving Lives Large if you have other grants from us. However you can only hold one Improving Lives Large grant at a time.


If you have received a large grant before you can’t apply to large grants for improving lives

Even if you have received funding of over £10,000 from us before (most prominently being through Investing in Communities) you can potentially apply.


You must have match funding in place

We don’t require match funding and will consider requests for 100% costs which show good value for money. However projects that can evidence partnership working may well be able to evidence they are more ‘connected’ and fit well with our three approaches.


You cannot receive five years of funding      hi_big_e_lrg_pink

We can consider requests for funding up to five years. The average award is £418,426 and the average length of the grant is 45 months, which is just under 4 years.


It has to be for a new project/service

We can consider new or existing work.


You need to have a professional fundraiser to be able to apply

No, we consider requests from all kinds of people from a wide variety of organisations.


The initial conversation to receive an application form is a formal assessment

This is the start of our conversation with you. At the end of this, we are likely to have three recommendations:

  1. There’s potential to take this forward so we’ll email you an application form.
  2. You might have something there but it needs some work first. If these can be covered, please come back to us.
  3. Based on this, we don’t feel there is enough potential. You can nonetheless come back to with another idea.


Find out more about Improving Lives here.
Book your place on our Improving Lives webinar on 1 February 2017 here

Get in touch with our Advice Team:
0300 123 7110


The future is bright for community ownership

January 6, 2017

With land reform high on the political agenda 2017 we anticipate that even more communities, particularly in urban areas, will look to the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) to help them acquire assets. With this in mind we wanted to start the New Year by updating you on what opportunities the SLF provides for both rural and urban communities, as well as highlighting some of its achievements since launching back in March 2016.

Click on the map for details of SLF grants awarded

Click to interact

In just ten months, the SLF has awarded over £1.7 million to 58 community initiatives. While most are development projects looking for small amounts of money to investigate their community ownership ideas, 13 of these groups have been awarded funding to acquire assets.

As well as awards already made, we know that there are many groups who are considering funding bids to the SLF. We currently have interest from over 200 groups who are working up ideas for applications, and there are at least 47 groups with applications totaling £8 million that we expect to apply for funding before the end of March 2017. Some of the projects in development include land for community led housing projects, community hubs, lifeline shop and filling stations as well as crofting estates and large forests.

So how can the SLF support your community ambitions for land or asset ownership? Well, firstly you should contact the Big Lottery Fund to discuss your idea and see if it is a potential fit. The SLF has a two stage application process which begins with a short form which allows us to check your eligibility and, if requested, to award a development grant to help you develop your plans. If you are invited to proceed with your application you will work with your SLF Adviser to fully develop your project idea. Stage two applications can take around six months to develop as this is when we ask you to develop all aspects of your proposed acquisition and complete your application for funding.

If your application is successful, you will likely still need time to complete the acquisition of the asset. This is part and parcel of the long and winding path to community ownership that for most groups can take months, for some even years. That said, it’s a journey well worth the effort and one which the SLF is looking forward to supporting more communities through this coming year and beyond.

The SLF is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and Highland and Islands Enterprise. To apply, contact the Big Lottery Fund to discuss your idea 

How much funding to apply for (Community-Led grants)

January 5, 2017

Children playing at Abergele Parochial ChurchDid you know? – Big Lottery Fund Scotland has awarded 50 medium grants for Community-Led activity totalling approximately £6.1m since November 2015.

Did you know? – The average grant size is £121,700.

Did you know? – The average length of a Community-Led grant is just over 3 years.

Did you know? – We’d like to spread the money a bit further and fund even more activities!

Many groups apply to the Community-Led programme for the maximum of £150,000 over the minimum time of three years. However, we aim to fund a variety of community-led organisations and we’re always happy to see applications for smaller amounts of money from groups who aim to achieve so much with so little.

Read more…

Celebrate goes out on a Festive High

December 13, 2016

The popular National Lottery funded Celebrate programme has made its last awards. Among them are a range of festive and New Year celebrations that will bring communities together to enjoy the spirit of Christmas including North Glasgow charity, Possobilities.

An award of £3,738 meant they were able to give local children the chance to take part in a whole range of Festive activities including decorating their own baubles and biscuits as well as paying a visit to a very special guest who was in Glasgow for the week. Manager, Jim McCabe explained how Santa came to Possilpark.  Jim said, “It may be the most wonderful time of the year but if the kids haven’t been to see Santa then is it really Christmas at all?

Santa's grotto

Santa’s grotto

“At a time when things are tough for many local families, paying a small fortune to see Santa in one of the city’s department stores isn’t really an option.  So we set up a very special grotto in the Summer House close to the Centre with the help of some trusty elves.  It was a very busy week for Santa and his team as, over the course of a week, we welcomed over 227 kids from local groups, nurseries and families to share in the magic.

Read more…

Application tips from our grant holders

December 12, 2016

Two of our grant holders recently visited our office in Glasgow to witness the inner working of how we award funding. After the funding decisions were made, we asked them what advice they would give to other organisations applying for grants. Watch the video to see their response.


Read more…

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