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2015-16 at The Robertson Trust: View from the Chair

Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

I am pleased to report that 2015/16 has been another busy and productive year for The Robertson Trust as we continue our grant giving around Scotland.

It has been a challenging time for the third sector, with cuts to budgets or frozen funding continuing to impact on a broad range of charities which are struggling to deliver essential services.

These circumstances were very much in our mind as we tackled and completed a complex and thorough review of our Five Year Strategy clearly setting out our priorities for future grant making. It was vital in this exercise that we consulted widely with the sector and with external stakeholders. This included a major survey carried out last July to which we received over 650 responses. I want to thank everyone who contributed in any way to the exercise and in particular to thank Dr. Jim McCormick whose guiding hand was invaluable.

Do visit What We Fund on our website where those new themes are set out clearly. I should emphasise that in the midst of this process we never lost sight of the aims and objectives laid down by the Robertson sisters. We will continue to honour them by recognising and responding to need and disadvantage and by building the capacity and sustainability of the charitable sector. At the heart of our work is our determination to build good relationships with all of our partners.

We will do this by being open to new ways of funding to ensure that sustainability and by our commitment to robust monitoring and evaluation. We will continue to challenge others to consider our findings to inform change in practice and policy across Scotland. Our door is wide open as we try to engage in discussions to avoid duplication and gaps. It is worth noting that our Development Committee has grown in strength during the year and is aiming to facilitate better partnership working, knowledge exchange and evidence based policy development. So...very exciting times.

I want to pay tribute to our Trustees, all volunteers, who give so generously of their time to advise and guide us in very challenging times. Thank you for your support , encouragement and wise counsel. Thank you, also, to Kenneth Ferguson, our Director who has worked so hard to supervise the development of our strategy and to everyone in our expanding staff team who have shown such dedication and commitment to the delivery of our objectives.

Finally we must recognise the work of the staff at The Edrington Group whose success we depend on to make possible everything we do. To be part of The Robertson Trust is an enormous privilege and I count myself lucky to be on the Board. I believe that we are now in a strong position to tackle the challenges which lie ahead and remain confident that we can continue to support the charitable sector which plays such a vital role in the wellbeing of the people of Scotland. 

Download this year's Annual Report here.