To help those applying to us we’re keen to share examples of best practice case studies. Having recently launched Community Assets , the following project is a fantastic community asset project with a strong connected approach.
What Big Lottery Fund Scotland did:
In July 2014 a Big Lottery Fund award of £920,849 meant that the Ecology Centre could build a new sustainable building on a two hectare site which had been purchased through the Scottish Land Fund. Set in stunning grounds by Kinghorn Loch, the new building boasts a range of facilities which allows the Centre to provide a wide range of environmental, educational and training activities for local people of all ages and backgrounds.
How they did it
Julie Samuel, General Manager, Fife Ecology Centre, says: “It’s vital for us to have good local connections as we have such a diverse range of organisations and people who make use of the centre. We offer a wide range of volunteering opportunities and our new purpose built facility means we can run an education programme for schoolchildren as well as people who have gone through challenging times. Our new toolshed brings together people who have experienced isolation or feel cut off from society.
“Over the last 18 months we’ve been monitoring what’s going on in our community and working out how we can work with other local groups and organisations to support them or complement what they are doing. This is a good way to ensure that your building or asset is and continues to be at the centre of your community and is delivering services that are needed and relevant.
“We are constantly looking to build and connect to our existing networks and utilising them to reach out to new organisations. In a project like this you can’t underestimate the amount of change that goes on and you have to think about what is the next driver to take you forward.
“As part of our application we put a business plan together and it’s a really useful exercise to re-visit that on a regular basis as a good reality check. You can re-assess what’s working and change and adapt your plans, building upon what is really working for you. It’s also important to recognise what’s not going well and change it. And it’s a good chance to review where any gaps in the market lie.
“I would say that throughout the duration of this project, from its inception 14 years ago, there’s been a growing sense of support and pride in the local area which is wonderful to be a part of. We now have a purpose built centre which can offer a high quality of service to a much wider range of people in our community.”