While we all are living and working in extraordinary and unprecedented times, the immediate response from individuals, communities and the third sector has consistently been heartening.
“What can we do to help?”
“Where is there greatest need?”
“How do we protect the most vulnerable?”
We all have a role to play in the coming days, week and months ahead – whether that be physical distancing by staying at home, providing key worker care and support across the NHS and other services, or continuing to deliver essential third sector services to people and communities affected by disadvantage.
Here at The Robertson Trust, in addition to adapting to the changes involved in working from home, many members of our team are also busy assessing the last of the many applications received under our current Giving strategy. Over the last three months, we have awarded over £1.9M to 182 organisations across Scotland and will continue to publish details of our latest Small and Continuation awards. Our final Main awards under our current strategy will be announced in June.
Throughout the process of assessing these applications, we have been conscious that circumstances have changed considerably due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our team is therefore trying to ensure that the nature of the awards we make will be flexible and enable applicants to respond to the needs of their respective communities. We are also working hard to prepare for the launch of our new strategy towards the end of the summer, at which time we will be able to provide details of what the Trust will fund through its open awards.
As an immediate response to the coronavirus pandemic, we also felt that it was important to reassure our current grant holders that we want to support them. We contacted all of them directly, detailing the measures we have taken in order to do just that. These included lifting restrictions on current revenue awards, extending timescales on existing pledged awards, and relaxing the reporting requirements for multi-year grants. Our priority at this time is to remove the burden of reporting requirements and enable staff working within our funded groups to focus on what matters most to them and their organisations.
In addition to short-term, responsive action, we want to work alongside partners to develop medium and longer-term responses to the challenges facing people living in communities across Scotland. The Scottish Government’s £350m package of support and the immediate partnership responses by several key organisations and funders is welcome and needed. We are, however, conscious of the long road which lies ahead for many organisations to get back on track and are committed to using all of our resources and assets to assist in whatever way we can, addressing the immediate needs of organisations, individuals and communities, while keeping one eye on the long term and what will be required when we emerge from this crisis.