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Reflecting on 2017-18 at The Robertson Trust

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.

Since its inception, the core purpose of The Robertson Trust has been to improve the quality of life and realise the potential of people and communities in Scotland.

Our Annual Review demonstrates the diverse ways we seek to deliver that purpose through grant funding and support to charities and individuals. It is uplifting to witness the life-enhancing work charities around Scotland do with the Trust’s support, and to celebrate the achievements of our Robertson Scholars. However, we continue to live in a time of great uncertainty and increasing inequality.

Trends in 2017/18

During the year, we saw increased demand for funding across all our activities. Sadly, we have seen an increase in withdrawals of funding pledges, as charities have struggled to find match funding, or are forced to focus on the maintenance of vital services.

As a result, 70% of our Open Awards in 2017/18 were to support existing services. Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever that our support enables charities to develop capability and capacity. We want to ensure that charities are equipped to play their part in re-designing services and delivering systems change to address inequalities in partnership with the communities and individuals they serve.

We systematically gather evidence from our work on the difference our support makes and, equally important, when it does not. While at an early stage of analysis, we now understand that how we fund charities is as important as what we fund. We intend to extend our Funder Plus approach to support charities. We recognise the value of partnership working, so we are keen to forge relationships with charities who can not only lead but are prepared to work with the Trust, other charities, funders and statutory bodies to deliver system change. We will continue to use our voice and convening power to highlight inequalities and champion those who unleash the potential of communities and individuals.


"...it is more important than ever that our support enables charities to develop capability and capacity..."


I am confident that The Robertson Trust can achieve this, as we have an excellent platform to build upon. We work with many partners who share our ambition that Scotland’s communities and people should flourish. We are grateful to them for their continued support and encouragement. The Trust has an exceptional staff team, ably led by Kenneth Ferguson, all of whom are committed to delivering the Trust’s core purpose. In our Scholarship work we are assisted by a team of outstanding assessors. On behalf of the Trustees, I offer my heartfelt thanks for their unstinting efforts.

We are grateful to the leadership and staff of Edrington Group Limited, whose ethos and success in business make possible all that we do. Finally, I greatly appreciate the time and expertise given by our Trustees. This year we bade farewell to Dame Barbara Kelly, who gave so much to the Trust, particularly as a champion for rural communities. We were also sad to learn of the death of Ken Cameron, one of the original Trustees who was instrumental in the establishment of the Trust.

As we reflect on last year and prepare for the future, we remain true to the vision of the Robertson Sisters and their determination to make a positive difference for the people and communities of Scotland, realising their potential and improving the quality of life.

You can download our full Annual Review here and view a full list of our 2017/18 awards here.