During 2016/17 we undertook a major review of our strategy to see if we could better meet the needs of our society and the charities working in it.
We undertook significant consultations and research to see how best we could use our resources to meet these needs. The result was a new strategy launched in August 2016 built under the three key funding strands; Care and
Wellbeing, Strengthening Communities and Realising Potential.
As well as new themes (which sit underneath our funding strands) we shifted our focus to fund outcomes. As such this required a whole new way of looking at our reporting and even how we were organised as a staff team. We have invested in an Innovation and Learning team to enable us to generate evidence and learn from it.
The reorganisation of the team into Giving, Innovation & Learning, Scholarship, Admin and Finance & Resources has enabled us to focus on delivering the strategy. To this end we dissolved the separate Robertson Scholarship Trust and absorbed all its excellent work into the main Trust. This cut our admin and overheads and allowed us to bring all our activity under the three key funding strands.
As regards our funding we awarded over £14M across our three funding strands. The split is roughly equal with Care and Wellbeing receiving over £4.7M, Strengthening Communities £5.2M and Realising Potential £4.2M. Our scholarship work accounted for a further £2M which should be included in the Realising Potential strand.
The scholarship work of the Trust continues to grow in terms of the quality of input we are able to make into young people’s lives. As well as money we give support on soft skills development and access to opportunities not
available to many young people. The numbers we support have risen to just under 500. We fully envisage that this will rise further to around the 700 level.
As well as grantmaking the strategy looked at how we use our resources in the widest sense and to that end we have made several significant Social Investments, the largest of which is our £3.6M investment in a new Charity Hub in
Stirling. This is 30,000 square feet of office and meeting space. It is undergoing refurbishment and is due to open in summer 2018.
Our current charity hub in Glasgow, Robertson House continues to go from strength to strength with more people using its facilities than in previous years with room bookings also up.
When I review the work of the last year the breadth, depth and quality of our work strikes me. However none of it would be possible without the fantastic and dedicated staff team here at the Trust. They just keep going the extra mile to help others – well done! As I look forward to the coming year uncertainty seems to be increasing, however with the dedicated staff, the committed trustees and the fantastic resources generated by Edrington I am convinced we are in the best possible place to make a difference to the people of Scotland and to fulfil the Robertson sisters’ vision of enabling people to be all that that they possibly can be.