Can we get funding to improve our building?

Fie Ecology Centre 1

When it comes to making physical changes or improvements to buildings, there are a range of things we are more or less likely to fund. Here are the basics you need to know…

What do we need in place before getting a grant?

In most cases your organisation will either need to own the building or hold at least a 5 year lease before we can fund you to make improvements to it. For some of our larger grants we require ownership.

If the work will require planning permission, you’ll need this before we give you money to do it.

What grants can we get for our building?

The simplest and quickest way to get funding for minor building improvements is through National Lottery Awards for All Scotland, which offers grants up to £10,000. National Lottery Awards for All is easy to access, and can fund a great variety of organisation types and building work – from fixing up church halls to refurbishing sports clubs or social enterprises. As long as you can show how your community have been involved in planning what you are doing, you have a chance! The downside is that you’re limited to a maximum of £10,000 in any 12 month period.

Can we get more than £10,000?

If your building is owned and run by the local community

…or will be, then the Scottish Land Fund may be able to help you purchase it and start running it – with grants up to £1M. However, these grants can’t be used for physical improvements to the building.

Community Assets, our main fund for community-led building projects, closed to new applicants in October 2019 – read our blog for more details.

If you have another type of charity or building project…

…we can and will consider funding improvements to a building through our medium and large grants (such as our Improving Lives, or Community-led grants). But we’ll only tend to such things where they are needed to deliver a specific piece of work that we are also supporting. For example, if we were funding you to run a community food project, we might fund the building of a new extension and commercial kitchen.

What types of building project won’t you fund?

We are unlikely to fund the likes of a national charity solely to refurbish a building without the work having a specific focus (e.g. refurbishing a head office).

We are also unlikely to give grants of more than £10,000 for work on community buildings unless they will strongly address local disadvantage or inequality. In practice this means we are unlikely to fund things like large scale playparks or replacing the roof on a church hall.

Finally, we are unlikely to give you a grant for larger sport or arts venues, or to maintain a building for heritage purposes. However, our sister National Lottery funders sportscotland, Creative Scotland and The National Lottery Heritage Fund may be able to help you.

How do we apply?

Usually it’s best to just get in touch! We are happy to give you advice, chat things over with you, and help you apply. Email us on or call 0300 123 7110, 9-5 Mon-Fri, and we’ll make sure you speak to the right person.

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