Possible funding sources (a work in progress)

IT takes patient detective work, to collate the various funding pots out there, for organisations looking to finance ‘improvements’ to our places in Scotland.

Whether town centre regeneration or rewilding our natural environment, there’s plenty about, with many applications requiring to be made only by ‘community’, not-for-profit organisations.

In the list below, there is no guarantee of being fully accurate, with some deadlines already been and gone (but with the possibility of being reactivated):

Community Ownership Fund (here) – An UK Government scheme. There were several Scots recipients (here) of the latest round of this funding – announced in the 2023 spring Budget. The latest round is round two, with a third round expected, though no date has been announced. Update, May 12 2023: Round three announced, here.

Shared Prosperity Fund (here) – Another UK Government scheme, this one administered by Westminster’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Applications are expected to come from ‘local partnerships’, comprising local authorities, businesses and Third Sector organisations – which might explain why it was Glasgow City Council announcing (here) that £6m of ‘shared prosperity’ funding was to be distributed to 17 local projects.

Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (here) – A Scottish Government initiative, with applications expected to be headed by local authorities. Says the Scottish Government: “Our regeneration vision is for a Scotland where our most disadvantaged communities are supported and where all places are sustainable and promote wellbeing.” It adds: “It is anticipated that the call for 2024 to 2025 project proposals will be announced before the end of April 2023.”

Nature Restoration Fund (here) – The deadline for expressions of interest, for the latest round of funding, has been and gone (it was March 24 2023). The fund is being operated by the Scottish Government agency, NatureScot, which says: “The strategic goal of the Nature Restoration Fund is to catalyse action at a scale to protect and restore Scotland’s biodiversity on land and sea.” In total, it adds up to £65m, with grants categorised £25,000-£250,000 and over £250,000. Applications were invited from “constituted organisations (registered charities and trusts and constituted community groups), private individuals and companies – where public benefit will be demonstrated, and partnerships and organisations working collaboratively with others”.

Social Isolation and Loneliness Fund (here) – The deadline for expressions of interest was just a few days ago: March 31 2023. £3.8m up for grabs. Part of a wider ‘Recovering our Connections’ scheme operated by the Scottish Government.

Partnership Fund (here) – Operated by Scottish Government agency, Historic Environment Scotland, which says: “[This fund] is open to applications from Third Sector organisations delivering strategic outcomes with national impact for Scotland’s historic environment or the Scottish historic environment sector. Applicants are likely to include charitable organisations playing an intermediary role or representing a specific area of activity within the sector.”

Sustainable Communities Fund (here) – Operated by Crown Estate Scotland, which says: “It’s a fund supporting two grant programmes: Community Capacity Grants, which provide early-stage financial support for community enterprise projects. This programme is open to all communities up to five miles from Scotland’s coastline or within five miles of our rural estates; and Environment Grants, which provide funding to Crown Estate Scotland tenants only, for projects which can deliver demonstrable environmental benefits within 18 months of award of funds.”

Climate action hubs (here) – Twenty communities across Scotland are to share £4.3m of Scottish Government funding to develop programmes addressing the ‘climate challenge’. It follows two pilot schemes considered to be a success. Says the Scottish Government: “The funding will be delivered in 2023/24. Application and eligibility guidance will be published later this month [March 2023].” To be confirmed: might have replaced the Climate Challenge Fund (here), which closed in 2022.

Places for Everyone (here) – Helping create the necessary infrastructure to make walking, cycling and wheeling ‘easier’. Operated by the walking, cycling and wheeling charity, Sustrans, and funded by the Scottish Government agency, Transport Scotland. Open to community groups and local development trusts. Deadline been and gone (last year, 2022).

Local authorities (various) – You never know, one’s local authority might have a ‘community engagement officer’ (or similar), who is able to walk organisations through what’s available from both the local authority and its partners.

Nationwide Foundation (here) – The independent charitable arm of the building society by the same name. Currently closed to ‘unsolicited applications’ – as explained here – but you never know in the future. Says the Foundation blurb: “Nurturing Ideas to change the housing system, backing community-led housing, and transforming the private rented sector.”

The National Lottery Community Fund (here) – Says the National Lottery Community Fund of itself: “[We] distribute over £600m a year to communities across the UK, raised by players of the National Lottery.” Two funding streams: under £10,000 and over £10,000. Used to operate a specific fund: Places Called Home (here), in association with the furniture and home furnishing store, IKEA.

Scottish Land Fund (here) – Says the Fund: “We support community ownership of land and land assets. The Scottish Land Fund is funded by us [a Scottish Government agency] and delivered in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund (as noted, here) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It offers grants of up to £1 million to help communities take ownership of the land and buildings that matter to them, as well as practical support to develop projects.”

Heritage & Place Programme (here). Operated by the Scottish Government agency, Historic Environment Scotland. The deadline for applications has long since closed, but you never know in the future. Says HES of the programme: “This is an area-based funding programme that aims to contribute to the development of vibrant and sustainable places in Scotland, through community-led regeneration of the historic environment.” Replaced the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) – as noted here.

Architecture Heritage Fund (here) – Says the AHF: “[We] can provide grants, subject to eligibility, to help with assessing the viability of a project, or to help fund development costs for historic building-related regeneration projects based in Scotland.” At the time of writing, three funding pots were available: project viability (average offer £6,000), project development (average offer £15,000) and tailored support (average offer £7,500).

Home Energy Scotland energy efficiency improvements (here) – Apply to Home Energy Scotland for grants and interest-free loans to improve household energy efficiency. Funded by the Scottish Government.

Vacant and Derelict Land Fund (here) – A £50m fund (over five years) operated by the Scottish Government, which said, last year (2022): “Scotland has almost 11,000 hectares of vacant and derelict urban land sites which can blight communities, harm wellbeing, and limit opportunities. However, those sites could offer so much more – they could help solve some of society’s biggest challenges, including around climate change and inequality.”

City Region Deals (here) – Big-time funding packages, involving both the Scottish and UK governments. There are six ‘City Region Deal’ areas in Scotland, with, for example, Glasgow City Region (eight local authorities) identified to receive £1.2bn.

Crowdfunding and community shares – Assuming a sufficient number of ‘followers’ and marketing effort, there is the option for organisations to directly ask the general public for funding help. Not necessarily restricted to projects requiring a modest amount of money (but often), crowdfunding is a simple contract: £ for recognition and perhaps some ‘rewards’. Meanwhile, community shares is a business arrangement, where investors can expect a rate of return (but not necessarily collect it). For advice on community shares, check out the organisation, Community Shares Scotland, here.

Firstport (here) – Funding for ‘social entrepreneurs’. Begins with up to £5,000, to begin an idea that “addresses a social, environmental and/or community issue”. And then potentially rises to up to £25,000 “for social entrepreneurs who have tested a social enterprise idea and want to make it their full-time career”.

Tudor Trust (here) – An independent charitable trust, which has supported numerous organisations across the UK trying to tackle inequality (including the Older Women’s Cohousing project in north London – as noted, here). However, at the time of writing, it had suspended its funding applications process, to give itself time to think afresh as to what it is about.

Wolfson Foundation (here) – An independent grant-giving charity, which says: “About 85 per cent of our funding is for capital infrastructure – buildings (new-build or refurbishments) and equipment. These awards support excellence across education, science and medicine, heritage, humanities and the arts and health and disability.”

Pictured: Scottish Government building, Leith, Edinburgh, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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