Main Award Guidance

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.

The following guidelines apply to revenue and capital Main Award applications. These are considered by our Giving Committee at four meetings each year in March, June, September and December.  Details of the application closing dates and Giving Committee meeting dates can be found here.

Our Main Awards programme is open to registered charities for work which takes place in Scotland.

Please note that we cannot consider applications from the following types of organisations:

  • Housing Associations
  • ALEOs
  • Charities which seek funding for onward distribution to third parties
  • Umbrella groups which do not provide direct services
  • CICs limited by shares

Applications for Main Awards must fit with at least one of the Trust’s funding strands: Care and Wellbeing, Strengthening Communities and Realising Potential, as detailed in our Giving Strategy.

We will prioritise work which aims to reduce inequality by responding to identified needs and disadvantage, and welcome applications for innovative approaches and activities which address the issues described within the Giving Strategy. We consider a number of key criteria when reviewing applications including, for example, evidence of financial need and of good governance. For more information on what we mean by this, please refer to our FAQs.

Revenue funding

Main revenue awards start from £10,000, but generally do not exceed £20,000 per annum.  These may be for core (running) or project funding for a maximum initial period of 3 years. We will prioritise costs associated with direct service delivery.

Revenue costs relate to the expenses associated with the delivery of your services. These might include:

  • salaries or sessional staff costs
  • project costs, for example activity costs, volunteer expenses and transport
  • core (running) costs such as rent, heating and lighting. In such cases, the core work of your organisation should reflect at least one of the funding strands in our Giving Strategy.   

We will prioritise costs associated with direct service delivery.

We are a match funder – this means we will not fully fund a post or project.  As a general rule we do not make awards which exceed 50% of the salary cost of one full time member of the applicant organisation’s staff. For larger projects, the Trust is unlikely to make an award equal to 50% of total project costs.  We ask that you provide full details of any secured or potential match funding in the budget form with your application. We cannot consider ‘in-kind’ contributions as match funding.

We are happy to consider requests for revenue awards from organisations already in receipt of or applying for capital funding.

Capital funding

Main capital awards can range from £20,000 up to a maximum of £250,000.

Capital costs may relate to:

  • new builds
  • upgrading buildings (NB. The applicant organisation must own or hold a long-term lease on the building)
  • refurbishment costs
  • equipment

We will consider funding up to a maximum of 25% of total costs but there are no fixed calculations applied in determining the level of any approved funding. Instead a number of key factors will be considered, including:

  • how the project will be used to address inequalities and improve outcomes for individuals and communities facing disadvantage
  • how the need for the proposed project has been identified and to what extent it is meeting a gap or complementing existing service provision in the area
  • whether the building and/or equipment will be used solely by your organisation, or whether it is for shared community use
  • overall project costs
  • the sustainability of the project

We are a match funder. As a general rule for any capital request, we therefore expect you to have around 30% to 40% of the total project costs secured before you apply.  We cannot consider ‘in-kind’ costs as match funding.

We are happy to consider requests for capital awards from organisations already in receipt of revenue funding.  However, capital requests are limited to one award within any 12 month period.

  • Funding for individuals, including travel /personal training costs/uniforms
  • Projects and activities which incorporate the promotion of political or religious beliefs, or requests for salaried posts where there is a requirement for the post holder to be of a particular faith or none
  • Work which takes place outside Scotland
  • Research or feasibility studies
  • The provision of information and advice (e.g. Helplines) with no associated, longer term support
  • Replacement of statutory revenue funding for mainstream playgroups and nurseries
  • Capital costs of Memorials/Statues/Universities/Colleges
  • One off events/festivals which have no associated educational activities or where these do not address disadvantage, in line with our funding strands 
  • The standalone purchase costs of buildings and/or land
  • Capital work on buildings not owned by the applicant or on which the applicant does not have a long term lease
  • Any retrospective costs already incurred by the applicant
  • Work which does not address one of our funding themes
  • The salaries of staff employed by, or seconded from, another organisation 

Please complete our online application form to apply for a Main Award.

We also ask you to provide supporting documents with your application, including:

  • A copy of your most recent Independently examined or audited account 
  • A completed budget sheet that provides details of expenditure, funding secured and potential match funding sources.

If applying for salary costs, please provide full job descriptions for the post(s) including contracted hours per week and salary scale.

Please note, failure to provide the above information as part of your application may delay our ability to provide a funding decision.

In addition, applications requesting capital funding may also include:

  • Any site plans, architectural drawings, or equipment specifications
  • External financial quotations
  • Business Plan/financial projections

Once you have submitted your online application form, we will send you an acknowledgement email providing the Giving Committee Meeting date at which your application will be considered.  Our Giving Committee considers requests at meetings four times a year in March, June, September and December – dates are available here.  We aim to advise you of the Trust’s decision within 7-10 working days of the Giving Committee meeting.

All correspondence relating to your application is sent via email and it is therefore important that the email addresses and contact details which you provide at the point of application are correct. It is important that you let us know if there are any changes to these as we are likely to contact you during the assessment of your application.

Unfortunately, if your application is unsuccessful we would ask that you wait 12 months before reapplying to the Trust.

If you have any queries relating to the above or would like to provide information on any changes or updates to a submitted application please contact the Giving Team on

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