Our call to early action

Big Lottery Fund Scotland opens new collaborative funding opportunity

Today we are delighted to launch a new fund aimed at making a fundamental shift towards early action in Scotland. With £7.5 million of National Lottery funding available, Early Action System Change will make a small number of grants to help bring local public and third sectors organisations together to redesign and re-organise their services and to test new approaches that make early action central to their work.

As we’ve highlighted in a series of blog posts, an early action approach aims to prevent societal problems from occurring rather than coping with the consequences. This in turn helps people to live longer, happier and healthier lives. But to get to that point, the systems and support that are in place right now require change.

Through this fund we will therefore award a small number of grants of up to £1 million that are intended to fund the first steps towards changing the way whole systems work. This means we are interested in the overall system you want to change and the particular areas where there are opportunities to act earlier.  We want to see this change fully involve the people who benefit from and participate, and those who work to deliver support and services.

With this investment, we will fund initiatives that focus on one of these three themes.

  • Healthy & Active Lifestyles
  • Children, Young People and Families
  • Women and criminal justice

Applications to the fund are made by way of an expression of interest form available on our website.

For more on system change and how we see our funding contributing to this area, read this Holyrood article by our Scotland Director, Martin Cawley, who tells us people and partnerships are key to successful system change.

If you would like to know more about our Early Action System Change Fund, you can watch our webinar or visit our website.


  1. It’s a great idea – I mean really – a very good idea; but possibly bordering on the criminal that initiatives aimed at designing services for(and with) older people don’t get a mention. Surely the aging population is the biggest challenge we face and a fund like this would be ideal? What is BIGs thinking on excluding this group?

    • Hi Simon. Thank you for your interest in Early Action and for sharing your thoughts. Yes, we can see this approach could work well within older people’s services too. I’m sure you’ll appreciate that with a very limited amount of money, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions about where to focus this particular initiative. We are, however, hoping to glean valuable insight from this investment that could support that shift to preventative work across other policy areas, including older people. It might be worth mentioning that our main National Lottery funding offer has a priority of addressing isolation, loss and loneliness. We welcome applications for activities that can address that theme but are also interested in projects or collaborations that take a preventative approach, so do speak to us if you have a great idea you’d like to discuss.

      • At West Lothian Financial Inclusion Network SCIO, we work closely supporting and encouraging ex carers, when their caring career has ended, this can be a big change within their lives, both emotionally and personally.

        Our intention is to assist them take the first steps into a new career, assisting them with advice on their benefits, due to their change of role, by preventing them from feeling Isolated, within the communities where they have been working, and in some cases living.

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