Big Lottery Fund Scotland has been considering opportunities to complement the new European Funds programmes starting in Scotland this year. We are currently developing a strategic intervention that focuses on promoting financial inclusion, as part of the ‘Poverty & Social Inclusion’ strand of the European Social Fund. This strand of European Funding is of particular interest to the Big Lottery Fund due to its alignment with our own mission to help those most in need and its potential to lever in additional monies to support structural change for disadvantaged areas.
We intend to apply to be a lead partner for the delivery of up to £8m European Social Funds (alongside £10m Lottery resources), making a combined pot of up to £18m to fund the strategic intervention.
Our proposals will form part of an overall Poverty & Social Inclusion programme being managed by Scottish Government and further details of this can be found on their website.
Our funding model is still in development; however we envisage it will focus on a maximum of five local authority areas to ensure the greatest strategic impact. We anticipate awarding between £2-5m to each area, depending on population size, level of need and range of existing services. We are not currently in a position to confirm which areas we will be working with however we expect to support work in both urban and rural areas. We are analysing data and talking to people locally and nationally to develop our plans further.
It is likely we will distribute the funding via contracts rather than a grants model and we anticipate a partnership approach which utilises existing services, local expertise and access to those hardest to reach. We expect third sector organisations to be involved at every level, this could include leading partnerships, setting strategies and delivering services.
In the meantime:
• our main funding programme; Investing in Communities will close to all new applications on June 30th 2015, and
• we are developing our new portfolio of funding programmes with details to follow later this year.