4 things you should know about Community Assets funding

A group of people standing in high vis vests and hard hats examining an artist's interpretation of a planned community facilityIn the summer of 2016 we launched Community Assets, our current fund to support Scotland’s communities to take ownership of and develop the assets they need to address the issues in their area.

Please note – our Community Assets fund will close to new applications in October 2019. Read our blog for more details.

In 2017 we looked over Community Assets, and came up with the following four things we think any potential applicant needs to know:

1. There’s a lot of competition for this funding!

With a budget of around £10M a year for Community Assets, and a typical grant size of £675,000, we only expect to fund perhaps 10-15 projects each year across Scotland. Since the fund launched, we’ve received more than 1000 enquiries from potential applicants – so obviously there is a lot more demand for this funding than we will be able to meet.

Because of this, we will try and give you an honest appraisal of your chances early on, and only suggest that you apply if we think you have at least a reasonable chance of receiving funding. And even those who we suggest to apply will still face strong competition for grants.

2. The projects that will best address the inequality or disadvantage in their community have the best chance

Because the level of competition is so high for Community Assets funding, only projects that best line up with our aims for the programme are in with a good chance of receiving a grant. One of the most important aims for us is to help address local disadvantage or inequality through the use of community assets.

We expect any applicant to be able to make a strong case about what inequality or disadvantage is faced by their local community, how they know this, and how they know the proposal they have put forward is the best way to address this.

The wooden skeleton of a roof which is in the progress of being built3. Applicant organisations need to be truly community-run and -led

We generally expect organisations applying to represent their local community by having open local membership, and for these members to have voting powers for board or committee positions. We will also generally expect the majority of this board to represent and be based in the local community.

4. There are certain types of project that we are less likely to fund

We’ve had quite a lot of request to fund economic regeneration work. However, many of these projects have struggled to demonstrate the level of local community benefit that our decision making committee are looking for in a fundable application.

Similarly, we have had a lot of requests to fund small parts of very large projects. Generally, we are less keen to support these, as we aim to fund smaller scale work driven by local communities, and that can be completed quickly.

Finally, we also get a lot of requests for things like the development of sports facilities or for HQ buildings for cause-based charities. Unfortunately, these grants are not really suitable for such projects.

If you’d like to discuss a potential project, please email us on advicescotland@TNLCommunityFund.org.uk or call 0300 123 7110

Visit this webpage to learn more about Community Assets.


  1. Is this the best way to devlelo community assets? the criteria seem to be devised by an office based perspective, distant from the hard realities faced by projects.

  2. Hi Norman, thanks for your thoughts.

    I’m sorry it comes across that way. We’ve worked closely with a lot of the community development sector to develop our criteria. We’ve also tried to build on the feedback, success and learning of the previous community asset projects we’ve funded over the last decade or more, taking into account the realities they’ve come up against, which as you mention can be pretty tough.

    There are a lot of types of community asset, and a lot of ways to successfully develop them, and due to limited funding we can’t hope to fund all of these. So we have to draw a line somewhere – and we’ve done that to the best of our ability, based on consultation, research and experience.

    That said, if you feel we’re missing a trick somewhere, do let me know. Just drop me an email at advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk and I’d be happy to discuss.

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