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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.”

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?


Community Assets: The essential update

August 8, 2016

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.
community_assets_460We 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

Previous applicants

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.

Eastside Partnership Connswater Community Greenway 1Meeting 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’re changing our online community – to make it your online community!

August 3, 2016

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…

The Big Lottery Fund Blog

In this blog Steve Keene, our digital manager, talks us through the improvements we will be making to our Online Community.

Changes-are-comingBringing 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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Finding love and friendship in Aberdeen

August 2, 2016

They say love can find you when you least expect it. Now, thanks to a unique friendship and dating group in Aberdeen and a £319,228 Lottery award, people with learning disabilities will have that chance to find their special someone.

Dates-n-mates, run by C-Change Scotland, is already changing lives in Glasgow and Renfrewshire and will now do the same in Aberdeen over the next five years. Here John Paul Moffat, dates-n-mates Glasgow Director, tells us more about the Aberdeen project and its one year pilot:


Members of dates-n-mates Aberdeen

“Dates-in-mates, our dating and friendship agency, is run by and for people with learning disabilities. Having operated in Glasgow for eight years, we knew there was a lot of interest from people in Aberdeen, many of whom would often travel down to our Glasgow events to meet new people.  Having secured one year’s funding from Aberdeen City Council for the pilot project we were delighted to launch dates-n-mates Aberdeen one year ago in the city’s Rox Hotel. We hoped that lots of people would attend and that they would enjoy the evening. Who knew that over two hundred people would attend with many joining up as members on the night?

Over the following year we’ve run over twenty events in Aberdeen including Speed Meets, sports activities, creative arts sessions, theatre trips and some members even attended the T in the Park music festival. All of these events were run and organised by members with the support of the dates-n-mates Aberdeen team. At one of the sporting events a members said, it was an “awesome event, I like the games, the venue and the people”. At another event someone said: “it is nice to mingle with people you know and to meet new people”.

We are delighted to have secured Lottery funding for our project for the next five years. We exceeded our membership target in the pilot year and aim to build on that success. We have an exciting range of events and activities planned that will ensure that even more people benefit from the opportunity to make friends and develop relationships. We are excited about the future and in keeping with the spirit of the project we will leave the last word to a member who describes the benefit of dates-n-mates as, “having fun with people you may not know but get to know after a time.”

C-Change Scotland is one of 27 groups sharing in our latest grants totaling £4. 9 million . For more information on this fantastic project visit the dates-n-mates facebook page.


What we do with your data… and what you could do with ours

August 1, 2016

We’re on a mission to make forms as short as possible. We don’t ask for information that we won’t use. And we’ve been working along with other funders and Evaluation Support Scotland to make sure reporting is valuable and not a burden.

Data shared with us in application and progress forms really is important. It tells us where you are, who you are working with, how many people take part, how many vBIGbigpinkPNGolunteers get involved and what jobs are created.

Putting this together with data from the 1,500 other applications we get in Scotland each year, we think we’re onto something pretty special.

So what do we do with this data?

First things first – we use it extensively in our own day-to-day work. In policy making, for example, looking at local area success rates to choose places to focus funding on. Analysing data can also help us discover and share good practice, like our recent research on tackling domestic abuse. And we use data every day to help make individual grant decisions, weighing-up the value for money and reach of potential grants.

Just as important though is that we make a significant set of data available to you – and anyone else – to use.

We’re committed to open data. As a public body, it’s vital we are transparent and accountable for the grants we make. Sharing our grant information more widely also helps researchers and other grant makers use our information.

Information about grants could help another funder decide whether to invest too, it could unlock an idea to share. It might help map where there’s strong community activity, or put small groups who are not charities (so not on other databases) on the radar and able to be celebrated for the work they do.

Looking to the future, we’re working with 360 Giving and other funders in Scotland to explore how we can make more data available so it can be analysed together. This could help funders collaborate, help us give more joined up answers to applicants and more support to third sector organisations.

Thinking further ahead, could it be possible to link grant information with data from OSCR, SCVO, the third sector interfaces or from Understanding Scottish Places?

We might decide to collaborate in Kirkwall, or focus outreach in Clackmannanshire. We might find out that Moray has the best funding ‘hit rate’ or that Parkhead has the most unusual ideas.

But the joy of opening up data is that other people will find an insight we haven’t even thought of yet.

Have a look at the Big Lottery Fund data and let us know what you discover.

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