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3 facts about Improving Lives funding

October 13, 2017

Young boy riding a toy trainAs we come up on two years since launching grants for Improving Lives, we’ve been looking back at this funding, and thinking about what’s worked well and what we could improve. We’ve looked at the data, spoken to customers and our own staff, and picked out three things that would be useful to know for anyone interested in applying to Improving Lives.

1. There’s much more competition for these grants

Compared to similar funds we ran before 2015, Improving Lives has been very busy! This means there’s a lot more competition for grants. If you are thinking of applying, here’s our top tips to improve your chances:

  • Apply for less than the maximum amount: the average level we have funded is around £120,000 for medium awards (that is, grants between £10,000 and £150,000), and around £390,000 for the large awards (or grants over £150,000).
  • Seek some match funding if you can, especially for the larger grants: although we can potentially fund 100% of a project, the pressure on our budgets means we prefer projects that will bring other funding to the table.
  • Apply for a shorter grant: our average grant length has been between three to four years. While we can fund up to five years, we are less likely to do this when competition is strong.

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Helping other women gives me a high

October 10, 2017

A headshot of Claire who is now a peer supporter at Pink Ladies 1stClaire overcame substance addiction, psychosis, paranoia and depression with the support of National Lottery funded Pink Ladies 1st. Now she uses her own journey to inspire other women with mental health issues in Midlothian…

“It all started when my substance misuse doctor offered me a place on a course with Pink Ladies 1st.

I had never went to a group in my community before and the thought was quite scary, so I refused to go for over a year.

Eventually, however, I thought that I needed to change my life. I had developed post-natal depression 21 years ago, which led to my psychosis, depression and suicidal thoughts. After being on speed every day for 14 years, it wasn’t a life worth living.

So I went to Pink Ladies 1st and started the course. I initially wanted to run out the room, but I forced myself to stay. Now I’ve been going for seven years – and been clean from substance misuse issues for the past five!

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Where we’ll be in Autumn 2017

September 29, 2017

CJW_2315We’ve been out and about quite a lot over the summer having delivered funding advice in venues from Stonehaven to Oban and plenty of other locations too. Now that Autumn is upon us, we’ve taken a look at the funding events and drop-in sessions we have lined up during October and November.

We’ll be providing a drop-in surgery for black and minority ethnic groups at our own office in late October and are also running an unconference for our grant holders based in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The events are listed below, along with details of how to get involved:

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4 things you should know about Community Assets funding one year on

September 26, 2017

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

So far we’ve heard from over 800 people who were interested in applying for these grants, discussed proposals with potential applicants worth nearly £70M and visited more than 31 potential applicants. We’ve made nine grants, worth a total of £6,062,491.

We’ve looked back over Community Assets so far, and here’s what we think are the four main things any potential applicants need to know after our first 12 months and more.

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

With a budget of £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 the whole country. As the statistics above indicate, we have interest from a lot more projects than this!

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The future of Community Assets funding

September 4, 2017

Big Lottery Fund Funding Officer writing name on skeletal infrastructure of a new community hubLast year Big Lottery Fund Scotland asked the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) and Community Enterprise to carry out a review of our investment in community asset ownership and development, to help inform our future funding in this area. 

Since 2001, over £95 million of our funding has been invested in over 400 projects throughout the length and breadth of the country – first through the original Scottish Land Fund, then through programmes such as Growing Community Assets.

Our main goal was to find out whether our support for the ownership and development of assets is an effective way to improve the strength and resilience of disadvantaged communities.

Additionally, it has been the Fund’s policy to only support communities wishing to own assets: we have not supported leasing. So we also asked the SCDC to investigate whether leasing or simply managing assets was equally as effective in helping communities tackle inequality.

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