News September 2020

Strategy update: What to expect from our funds

The Head of our Giving Team, Lesley Macdonald, gives an update on our funds ahead of our strategy launch later this month.

When we began our strategy renewal process in early 2019, nobody could have anticipated quite how much the world would change in the next 18 months.

Over this period, we have carried out extensive stakeholder engagement, and spent time considering what our role as a funder in 21st century should be. We’ve never stopped listening – particularly in light of Covid-19 – and worked hard behind the scenes to develop a progressive strategy that aims to respond to the needs of the sector and allow us to work more intelligently and collaboratively.

Our strategy will launch during the week of 21st September and we will reopen our funds to applications the following week. We know from the conversations we’ve had, and the spike in sign ups to our mailing list, that there is significant interest in the funds.  This blog aims to provide a high-level overview of these and explain how we developed them based on feedback from our existing grant holders.   We will be providing additional information on our funds over the coming weeks.

What’s changed – and why

Our strategic direction has evolved and been informed by the work we have previously funded but will sharpen our focus around poverty and trauma.

We aim to deliver in excess of £200 million in funding over the ten-year strategic period and remain committed to supporting communities across Scotland. During our strategy review period, we asked our grant holders to tell us about how we could better use our resources to meet their needs. Over 600 organisations responded, and these insights were fundamental in how we have developed our funds.  Here, we set out some of the changes we have made as a result of your comments.

You Said / We did

More core, unrestricted and longer-term funding

Organisations will be able to apply for up to five years funding. There are also no longer set closing dates; applications can be sent at any time with an aimed response time of 8-12 weeks.

We are keen to provide unrestricted funding where an organisation's work is particularly aligned with our key themes, which can be used to support any costs to help further develop their work.


Less emphasis on match-funding

Match-funding will no longer be required for our revenue awards.


Less emphasis on financial independence post-grant

We recognise that current times mean that organisations are not always able to be financial independent or fully sustainable.  We plan to work more closely with grant holders to plan for the future and provide support that reflects their needs.


More shared learning

We want to create more opportunities to share learning from our funds, and to find ways of allowing like minded organisations in receipt of our funds to come together.  We will also find ways to give platform for those we fund to talk about their work


To continue funding a breadth of topics

We recognise that the causes and solutions to poverty and trauma are both complex and diverse. This will be reflected in what we fund which we expect to be a broad ranging spectrum of activities which address people’s financial  and emotional wellbeing.

While some projects may deliver services directly in response to need, such as financial inclusion services, counselling or foodbanks, we’re also interested in work that could be described as preventative. This may include services which reduce social isolation, create future opportunities or improve relationships. We also know from research that some groups of people are more likely to experience the effects of poverty and trauma and will be interested in work which supports these groups.


We are excited at the prospect of opening our doors again and being able to support organisations which are doing such valuable work in our communities. We know that the impact of COVID 19 has changed many areas of the sector. I want to send a very strong message that listening and reflecting on how we can best support you through these challenging times will be integral to how we work.

If you wish to stay up-to-date with news around our strategy, please join our mailing list or follow our social channels. We will also be producing regular content in the coming weeks ahead of our launch date later this month.