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The future of active ageing

September 28, 2016

This week ahead of International Day of Older Persons, we are shining a light on some of the fantastic 734 older people’s projects we have funded over the last five years. In this blog Nicola Hanssen of Roar – Connections for Life Ltd tells us why Lottery funding has been so crucial in helping older people in Renfrewshire stay fitter for longer.

My grandparents were old when they married because she was ‘in service’ and only had one day off a week and he was down the mine in West Lothian. After a labour intensive life it seemed entirely appropriate that retirement would mean a rest and offering them a chair ‘to take the weight off their feet’ was a kindness. Our expectations of their aging was that old people got frail and old people fall. However times have changed and so has our understanding of aging. Roar – Connections for Life Ltd works across Renfrewshire with growing numbers of older people who are still enjoying busy, active lives well into their 90’s and through the help of Big Lottery funding we are able to help people take more control over how they manage their aging and stay fitter longer. One of the biggest areas of change to come from the work we have done is challenging the myth that falls are inevitable in old age – they are highly likely!! But they can be avoided if you take action on a number of areas of life.


Roar Connections – helping older people stay fitter for longer

Our journey to making this bold statement started with an Investing in Ideas grant in 2014 where we developed our research into the emerging evidence around frailty as a reversible or avoidable condition. We learned that there are lots of factors that make home fires more likely which are similar to the factors that often result in falls so what better way to tackle this than by joining up with the fire service and working on tackling this together – so we did. We also learned that muscles can be rebuilt and balance re learned no matter how old you are if you follow some exercises and small life changes so what better way to tackle this than by joining up with Glasgow Caledonian University Institute of Applied Health Research, School of Health & Life Sciences Centre for Living – so we did. Amongst all of this we became aware that because of changes to NHS podiatry older people were no longer routinely getting their toenails cut and that this was having a very detrimental effect on their ability to do their exercises, stay mobile and look after themselves or their home – you know what it feels like when your feet hurt! So what better way to tackle this than to set up a Foot Care service with help from NHS Podiatry – so we did! And our Feet, Falls and Fires was born but we haven’t stopped there because through our work with people we identified that it’s all very well being fit enough to go out but that doesn’t help much if you have nowhere to go or no one to go with. So what better way to tackle this than help people overcome their fear, link them up with others and provide a menu of fun things to do and people to do it with. I’m delighted to say that a further Big Lottery Fund grant has allowed us to do just that. This is the future of active aging – help us move with the times!

Success rates – what are your chances of receiving funding?

September 15, 2016

Applying for funding can give your organisation an incredible opportunity to help your community. As much as we would like to fund everything, often a limited budget means this isn’t possible. Therefore, giving you the success rates to our funding will help you plan around what the likelihood could be of receiving a grant.

The below is from decisions we made between 1 April 2016 and 31 August 2016:


What about the success rate for Community Assets?

It is early days for Community Assets and not enough has been decided on to give statistics. We’ll hopefully be able to starting providing this soon though.

Is there a success rate for stage two applications?

Two of our funds (large grants for improving lives and Scottish Land Fund) have a stage two application form. These funds are less than ten months old. With the timescales involved, the numbers of stage two applications that have received decisions are low.

During 1 April 2016 and 31 August 2016,  five large grants for improving lives application were decided. All of these were successful. In the same period, seven Scottish Land Fund stage two applications were decided. Again, all of these were successful.

Our hope is stage two applications will have a higher success rate than stage ones. As more applications are received, the success is unlikely to remain at or near 100%.






Where we’ll be in September 2016

August 29, 2016

Outreach Events September 2016With 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.

September Events

Thu 1st Sept
SURF conference
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
1230-late; 0930-1600
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 /
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
Drop in
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
CRNS members

Future Events

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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Our Place, our learning

August 29, 2016

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.

Our Place graphic

Community Builders have been working with the seven Our Place communities on our behalf since September 2014, as the above road map shows

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Strive for inclusion
Our Place

Planting an Our Place tree at Lochside and Lincluden Orchard

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.

  1. 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.

The seven Our Place communities are: Ardrossan Central and North EastAuchmutyCamelonDouglasLochside and LincludenShortlees and Whitlawburn and Springhall.

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.

5,000 reasons to celebrate

August 24, 2016

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:

Glasgow Afghan

Glasgow Afghan Society celebrating its award

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.”

Celebrate will close to new applications on Friday 21 October. 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?


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