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.

About the organisation

SHAX is a social enterprise set up initially to support those in crisis through homelessness and/or poverty. SHAX provides practical help in the form of emergency household starter packs for people moving from emergency accommodation to a new permanent tenancy, with a further homemaker scheme supplying used furniture and white goods at minimal cost. Using donations from local people, SHAX diverts electrical items, furniture and household items from landfill. 

About the award

Towards SHAX's volunteer and work placement programme . Volunteers are central to SHAX’s operations and the organisation has the potential to accommodate increased numbers. The majority of volunteers referred to SHAX are those furthest removed from the labour market and require individualised support at the start of their placement. SHAX therefore plans to further develop its training resources to reflect the needs of its  client group and to offer personalised Volunteer Skills Portfolios. The organisation also wishes to respond to requests from the local secondary schools to support pupils not in mainstream education and those about to leave school.

Q&A: Joyce Harkness, Social Enterprise Manager

What's happened so far with your project?

Since August, we have completed over 199 emergency referrals providing support to people in crisis across Dumfries and Galloway. Additionally, we have recruited 20 volunteers from a range of backgrounds, many of whom have experienced high levels of social isolation and exclusion.

Within the period some of our volunteers have moved on to positive destinations; four of our volunteers have moved onto employment and one has moved into further education. A final volunteer with learning difficulties has secured a place on a football coach training programme.

Our evaluation tools show an increase in volunteers social and interpersonal skills and confidence, bringing them closer to the job market from which many had previously been excluded.

What's still to come?

Next month we will begin working with the local high school to provide work-experience placements for students looking to gain practical skills in a charity environment. This leads on from the work we currently do with young people; two of our volunteers are still in school and have behavioural issues which excludes them from regular classes. We will also be running upcycling classes to promote the reuse and recycling of unwanted objects, repurposing and diverting them from landfill.

What tips would you give to other organisations looking to do this kind of work?

Developing strong partnerships with other agencies is integral when working with our emergency services users and our volunteers. We have found this true particularly for young or vulnerable volunteers, who may require extra support to allow them to get the best out of their time with SHAX. It is also incredibly important to have a collaborative network that can skill share.

How this fits with our Giving Strategy 2016-19

In order to successfully apply for funding under our Giving Strategy 2016-19 (launched August 2016), applicants must demonstrate how their work will contribute to one or more of the themes within the Trust's three new funding strands.

Although granted prior to the strategy launch, this application would have been eligible under our new approach as a result of its fit with the following themes:

  • Funding Strand: Strengthening Communities
    Theme 2: Supporting people and communities to find routes out of poverty

To find out more details about all of our funding strands and themes, please download our Giving Strategy 2016-19.