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Scottish Land Fund goes urban

May 24, 2016

The Scottish Land Fund today makes its first award to an urban project in Scotland, following the decision to open the programme to all parts of the country.

Here Jim Hope, Development Officer of Barmulloch Community Development Company (BCDC) tells us why the £85,000 award means so much to the local community.

When we heard the news of our Scottish Land Fund grant we were over the moon and very proud of being the first urban group in Scotland to receive an award.

BCDC community1

Community spirit is alive and kicking in Barmulloch

The funding means we can now purchase the former All Saints Church in Broomfield Road, Barmulloch and take forward our plans for developing it – so we can provide much needed
services for the local area.   The former church, a familiar and well loved landmark, was deconsecrated in 2014 as a result of the loss of parishioners following the evacuation of the Red Road flats, prior to their demolition.    At that time we were looking for premises to accommodate the Rob Roy Boxing Club, about to be ejected from condemned property.  That’s when we approached the Archdiocese of Glasgow who accepted our proposal.   Within two weeks, we compiled a detailed Project Study and just one week later the Church granted us immediate use of the building and adjacent nine roomed house on a six-month rolling licence. With a lick of paint and new carpets, the building was soon ready to accommodate a Money Advice Centre.

BCDC building1

BCDC will purchase the Broomfield Road Centre

Now, thanks to the Scottish Land Fund, we will own the building and can take forward the first stage in a number of plans we have for the premises and grounds at what will be known as the Broomfield Road Centre.     We will be able to improve the roof and install new windows, new doors and door entry systems, and we’ll be able to take forward our plans for five small industrial units. And of course we’ll be able to focus on providing a range of services to assist vulnerable people and families within our community.

We are delighted to be able to acquire these premises and open them up to local people, who I am sure will join BCDC in thanking the Scottish Land Fund for making this possible.

A second Scottish Land Fund award is also announced today to Moffat Community Woodlands, which receives £171,622 to purchase 33.4 hectares of local woodland on Gallow Hill in Dumfries and Galloway.

For more details on the newly relaunched Scottish Land Fund visit our website.

Meet the Young Start team… Part 1/2

May 19, 2016

young_start_logo_220Ever wondered what it’s like to chat to the assessing officers who are making decisions on your funding application?  The Young Start team assess applications from groups across Scotland that aim to create opportunities for young people aged between 8 and 24 to help them realise their potential.

The team have recently ventured into the world of Twitter.  Now’s your chance to get to know the assessing officers a little better:


Elisa Kappe

elisaI’m the only non-Scottish person on the team.

After coming to Scotland for originally just one year, I’m now approaching the end of my fifth year here – and half of the time I’ve worked for BIG. This (very touristy) picture was probably taken in my first few months in Scotland.

I love travelling and experiencing other cultures, languages and especially food and have lived in a few different countries before settling in Edinburgh. In the Big Lottery Scotland office, I support our Green initiatives – from raising awareness of energy saving options to growing workshops and chilli growing competitions. Last year’s competition ended in all but one chilli being annihilated by green flies – not our most successful venture!




Julia Holmes

I’m the Funding manager for Young Start – so I’m responsible for making sure the funding decisions get made, we spend the money from the Reclaim Fund wisely and we achieve the Young Start programme outcomes!bunny

Actually, Elisa isn’t the only non-Scottish member of the team as I’m originally from East Yorkshire and moved to Scotland 13 years ago to work for the Big Lottery Fund’s predecessor. But, I have been told I have a Dundee accent! I love anything to do with wildlife and am lucky enough to live in North Argyll with red squirrels, pine marten and red deer in our garden. We may get 63 inches of rain a year and the midges are truly evil, but on a sunny day it’s like being in the Italian Lakes!

Apart from the wildlife, I share my home with two bunnies, a talking parrot, a mini-bull terrier pup and a tank of fish.  Never a dull moment!  My background is working in childcare, play and education so to be able to work on a programme supporting young people is really special for me.

Julia doesn’t have a photo to share so here is an image of a cute wabbit. 


Jeanette Welch

jeanetteI have worked with the BIG Lottery Fund for 14 years, originally with the Community Fund until their amalgamation with New Opportunities Fund.

I suppose you could describe me as the ‘elder statesman/woman’ of the team but like to think that I’m still young at heart. I still have a penchant for motorcycling, albeit from the pillion perspective nowadays and enjoy nothing better than getting all togged up and heading up the west coast of Scotland on a good day or attending the odd rally. I’m also very partial to the odd holiday – I can hear my colleagues choking from here !!!!

This photo was taken at Glasgow Airport when my colleague and I were waiting for the flight to Barra to undertake two project visits. Sadly the weather was so bad that we couldn’t land as the runway at Barra is on the beach. All we managed was a fly past, circled round and came back to Glasgow.  Still need to cross that one off my bucket list !!!



Simon DennyIMG_2127

I am now the only male Funding Officer on the Young Start team…!  But wait….this will not be for much longer as I am about to leave BIG, after nearly 10 years(!) – woah, how did that happen Eh?!  I am passionate about health and fitness and helped organise a number of health-related activities within the office, for example an office stair climb challenge. Over a 4 week period in March 2015, half our office cumulatively climbed higher than the height of Mt Everest – an amazing achievement.

I have really enjoyed working on Young Start and seeing how our funding really can make a lasting impact on the lives of young people in Scotland and will miss it and the team when I leave.😦





Keep up to date and follow the Young Start Team on Twitter

In the next blog Elisa, Julia, Jeanette and Simon (who is now gone but left you a parting gift) will let you know their top tips in applying to the Young Start programme.



Communities and Families ends on a high

May 17, 2016

From Shetland to the Scottish Borders, our Communities and Families Fund has reached every corner of Scotland, since its launch back in 2012. Today, 753 grassroots projects, £6 million and thousands of families later, we are making our final 83 awards from the programme .

Interactive map of grants

Click to interact!

Aimed at giving Scotland’s children the best start in life, we launched Communities and Families Fund alongside the Scottish Government at the Reidvale Adventure Play Association in Glasgow’s East End.

The group went on to apply and then secure an award from Communities and Families Fund to run a 32 week programme of Zumbini sessions aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of parents and children.

Ann Marie Todd from the Reidvale Adventure Play Association explains the difference that the money made to local families in the area.   She said, “Our Zumbini sessions have positively engaged babies and children in taking their first steps towards a healthy, active life that further promotes their overall emotional and physical wellbeing. The sessions also captured and nurtured the baby and child’s introduction to natural musical abilities when experiencing new sounds, rhythm and movements along with their parent.

“The format provided a supported and stimulating environment for parents to engage in music, movement and rhythm in a fun and interactive way with their babies and children.  Parents have been able to set up a network of support in the local community and are also going to other baby and child groups within the local area when they might not have had the confidence to do so before.

“All of the parents can now confidently take the Zumbini group sessions delivering various songs, movement and Zumba dance with their child and the other parents, children and babies in the group. The sessions have also allowed parents to form strengthened relationships and to engage confidently with their children at play at home.  Our parents have also told us that now they actively support each other and working together has helped reduce feelings of isolation or stress.

“The kind award from The Communities and Families Fund has made wide ranging opportunities for families possible for all of the parents, babies and children who attend our Zumbini sessions. We are extremely grateful. “

Click on the link to our interactive map to find out where Communities and Families funding has gone in your area.

Our Place, our carnival

May 13, 2016

On Saturday the 18 June 2016, Ardrossan Castle will come alive with the sights and sounds of medieval Scotland, a special celebration re-connecting people with their local heritage. The Ardrossan Castle Carnival 2016 is the first project to be funded through our latest Our Place initiative. In this blog Dr Amanda Simpson of the Ardrossan Castle Heritage Society (ACHS) welcomes the £53,304 award and gives us some background to the upcoming event.

1. Copyright - The Vertical View

A view of Ardrossan Castle

When ACHS formed in late-2012, I don’t think any of us ever imagined that in a few short years we’d be spear-heading a major cultural event designed around about sharing a previously unknown piece of history about this Scottish Castle. Saturday, June 18, 2016, sees the 470th anniversary of the Privy Council of Scotland meeting in Ardrossan Castle to settle a landholder dispute between the 4th Earl of Argyll, Gillespie Roy Archibald Campbell and James Cannochtston, also known as James MacDonald, of Dunyvaig and the Glynns.  Lord James Hamilton, the 2nd Lord of Arran and Regent for the 4-year old infant Mary, Queen of Scots, presided over the meeting. Nobility from as far away as Orkney, and as close as Paisley, attended the meeting. History tells us it was a rare occasion for the government of Scotland to meet on the West Coast in this time period.  This meeting suggests Ardrossan Castle, and its inhabitants were held in high esteem within Scotland’s aristocracy.  Nevertheless, we are left with many questions about this event.

2. Les Amis (Jousting Scotland)

Les Amis d’Onno – this medieval jousting group will perform at the carnival

Why was Ardrossan Castle chosen as the site to settle this dispute? Was it seen as neutral ground between the warring landowners? Was the effective King of Scotland simply in the right place at the right time to keep the peace?

Regardless of reason, this event gives a tantalising clue to the historical significance of Ardrossan Castle in mid-16th century Scotland. That local ACHS volunteers have helped uncover this wonderful story and will help participate in sharing it with the local community of Ardrossan at the Castle Carnival is a real source of pride.

Carnival guests will be transported back to medieval times to learn the customs of horse jousting and the many secrets of Ardrossan Castle.  Knights will show off medieval weaponry and battle garments, while the Ladies will share their beauty secrets and beautiful dresses.  Younger visitors are invited to earn the honour of becoming a ‘Guardian of Ardrossan Castle’ by participating in the many, many activities across the carnival

We are thrilled to be the first recipient in Scotland of this Our Place  funding and hope this event will help bring the whole community together and stimulate Ardrossan and the Castle as a place to visit; for the local community as well as further afield.

To find out more about the Ardrossan Castle Carnival 2016, visit their facebook page or follow them on Twitter @ArdrossanCHS.

The Our Place website explains more about the initiative and the local areas involved.

Supporting adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse

May 12, 2016

“I began to realise when I was pregnant that there was parts of my life that didn’t seem real, the memories I was starting to have totally conflicted me. I have since come to the realisation that my memories were true and that I needed to be able to make sense of them.”

Kelly is a survivor of sexual abuse and has been supported by Talk Now, one of 26 organisations sharing in £7.1 million.  Ten of these grants are being awarded under our Improving Lives 1009026_10201825702383719_105442173_ofund, designed to support people, like Kelly, facing challenging circumstances to overcome difficulties and become more resilient.

Kelly said: “Before I found Talk Now I was at a complete loss, and thought there was no help out there for me, nowhere for me to feel safe. I have attended several different organisations, where there was always a time limit and I never seemed to feel complete. Since I have been coming to Talk Now, help, support and advice is always available 24/7, I don’t feel that I will reach a certain point and everything will stop, without this knowledge and security, I can’t imagine where I would be in life. I am in a very stable marriage and our child is at University, my whole life has and continues to change with all that Talk Now do.”

Patricia Mair, Founder of Talk Now welcomed the organisation’s £90,000 award: Talk Now is dedicated to helping both males and females, who were sexually abused as children, and their families. The money we have received from the Big Lottery Fund will help us to expand our organisation and provide counselling to survivors and their families. Our core ambition is to enable survivors to live their lives to the full, to eliminate the debilitating effects of sexual abuse.”

Kelly has already benefited greatly from the support Talk Now offer and thanks to Lottery funding will continue to do so. She said: “With the help of Talk Now I have a sense of who I am, can hold my head up in society and feel that I do exist. Not only am I so much stronger but my family is as well, I will never be able to thank Pat and her team enough for all that they do.”



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