Community Vehicle Grants guidance

Detailed guidance on applying for a Community Vehicle Grant.

If you have any communication support needs that make reading this guidance or completing an application form difficult or impossible, please contact us on 0141 353 4321 or funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk to discuss alternative ways you can apply.

Prefer to download a PDF of the guidance? Click here.

Who and what are Community Vehicle Grants for?

  • For registered charities working in Scotland, with an annual income of £25,000 to £2 million, that support people who are experiencing (or are at risk of experiencing) poverty or trauma
  • Funding of £1,000 to £10,000 towards the costs of the purchase or upgrade of a vehicle used by your charity
  • Apply any time – no set closing date.

Who can’t apply?

  • Charities who received funding from us for a Community Vehicle within the past 12 months. You can reapply once your current Community Vehicle grant has ended and you’ve sent us your End of Grant Report. 
  • Charities who unsuccessfully applied to our previous Open Grants programme (which closed in early 2020) within the past 12 months. You can reapply once 12 months from the date of your decline email has passed. 
  • Housing Associations and Arm’s Length External Organisations (ALEOs). These types of organisation are not currently eligible for funding from us. However, we are committed to reviewing our guidance and criteria across the course of our strategy. To be kept informed, please sign up to our mailing list.

What do I need to apply?

  • A minimum of three unconnected Trustees on your charity’s Board. By unconnected we mean not related by blood; married to each other; in a relationship with each other or living together at the same address.
  • Recent independently examined or audited annual accounts. If your organisation is a newly registered charity which has not yet produced accounts, we’ll ask you to send us details of an independent referee who knows your work well, a recent bank statement and a projection showing your organisation’s expected income for its first year.
  • A safeguarding policy. If your organisation directly supports children and young people or vulnerable adults, we would expect you to have an appropriate policy document which sets out how you will keep them safe.

What type of work will you fund a vehicle for?

Through our Community Vehicle Grants, as with all our funding, we want to support charities whose work addresses the impacts of poverty and/or trauma under one or more of these themes - please click through for details

1. Financial wellbeing: addressing the financial and material effects of poverty on people and communities. 

2. Emotional wellbeing and relationships: ensuring people have emotional wellbeing, and confidence and strength in their relationships with others.

3. Educational and work pathways: equipping people for the future through learning and skills pathways.

Across all three of these themes, we can contribute to the costs of a vehicle used to support work that:

  • meets people’s immediate needs around poverty or trauma 
  • provides earlier help which aims to prevent or reduce the likelihood of experiencing negative outcomes relating to poverty and/or trauma 
  • tests new approaches or does more of what works
  • is universal (aimed at a wide group of people or an entire community) or targeted (focusing on a specific beneficiary group, e.g. young people), as long as it shows how it will meet the needs of people (at risk of) experiencing poverty or trauma. 

Groups of people affected by poverty and trauma: We would like to fund vehicles to support work aimed at specific groups of people who we know are more likely to experience poverty or trauma, although we will also consider work not specifically aimed at these groups.

Examples of funding requests we would consider:

We will only consider funding requests where it is clear how the vehicle will support your work in addressing poverty and/or trauma. Examples of the type of request we might consider include:

  • A new or used minibus for a community transport service operating in a rural or remote area in which there is a lack of affordable or accessible transport.
  • A specially adapted wheelchair accessible minibus for a community transport service aimed at those who face barriers to accessing services in their communities through ill health, old age or financial pressures, to help them to access the services and support they need.
  • A foodbank requiring a vehicle for the collection and distribution of goods for a food parcel service and/or outreach.

How much can I apply for?

Funding of between £1,000 and £10,000 for the purchase of a new or used vehicle, or the upgrade of an existing one – for example adapting a minibus to ensure it is wheelchair accessible. The amount of funding will depend on the cost of the vehicle or upgrade/adaptation:

  • Costs of up to £10,000 →  £1,000 grant
  • Costs of £10,000 to £20,000 →  £5,000 grant
  • Costs of £20,000 to £40,000 →  £7,500 grant
  • Costs of over £40,000 →   £10,000 grant

You can only hold one Community Vehicle Grant at any time and each covers a 12-month period.

If your organisation also needs revenue funding, you can apply separately for one of our revenue grants in addition to funding for a community vehicle. Use the Funding Checker to see what you're eligible for or browse our Funds.

What will not be considered for funding?

  • Applications for funding a vehicle if the work of your organisation does not address poverty or trauma through one or more of our three themes outlined above
  • Applications for funding towards the revenue costs of community transport schemes, for example salary costs, volunteer drivers’ expenses, fuel costs or insurance/licenses
  • Routine repair work for existing vehicles
  • Work which takes place outside Scotland
  • Vehicles to support projects and activities which incorporate the promotion of political or religious beliefs
  • Any retrospective costs already incurred by the applicant organisation
  • Any costs not incurred directly by the applicant organisation

What do you look for in an application?

We consider a number of key criteria when assessing applications. As well as meeting the basic requirements and fit with our themes, as outlined above, we want organisations who apply for a Community Vehicle Grant to demonstrate how they:

  • Focus on poverty and trauma: recognise the challenges people in their community are facing in their lives related to poverty and trauma, as well as how their organisation’s work will respond to this and support them.
  • Focus on community: involve their community in the organisation, for example on the Board or through volunteering; and that they listen to their community and respond to their needs. By community, we mean either a geographic community or a community of interest.
  • Plan to use the vehicle regularly: either themselves or through shared use with other local organisations.

Other criteria we consider include:

  • The organisation’s financial position, including its sustainability and whether it has an immediate need for our funds
  • How well the organisation is governed and, where appropriate, the safeguarding policies and arrangements it has in place.

More information about what we look for in an application and what’s important to us.

How do I apply?

We consider Community Vehicle Grant applications as part of a rolling programme of funding. You can apply at any time, bearing in mind our timescale for decisions, detailed below.

Please complete the online application form.

  • Please provide a copy of your most recent independently examined or audited annual accounts
  • You don’t need to provide quotes or estimates for the vehicle when you apply. However, if we award you funding, we’ll want to see evidence of the purchase or work to be undertaken before we release the funding.

What happens next?

  • We’ll email you to confirm we’ve got your application and when you can expect to receive a decision.
  • We’ll aim to tell you the outcome of your application within 8-10 weeks. This is dependent on receiving any additional information we may ask for – delays in receiving this extra information could mean the decision takes longer.
  • We’ll send all correspondence about your application via email, so it’s important that the email addresses and contact details you provide in your application are correct. We’ll normally contact the person you’ve listed as the ‘application contact’ in the first instance, so it’s helpful if this person is available during the assessment period. Please let us know if there are any changes to the contact details provided.
  • We’ll assign one of our Funding Officers to assess your application. They may get in touch with you during the assessment period and will be able to help you with any changes or updates you might need to make to your application.

If we award you funding:

1. If you have been awarded funding, we’ll email you to let you know. Before we can pay your funds, we’ll ask you to provide:

  • A copy of a recent bank statement for your organisation’s account, from within the past three months
  • A copy of a quote or purchase order for the vehicle
  • Evidence that you have enough funds in place to go ahead with the purchase.

2. We’ll do our best to pay the funds to your organisation’s bank account within two weeks.

3. If we have awarded you less than £5,000, you don't need to send us a report at the end of your grant year. However, we would love to hear from you if there’s anything you do want to share with us. You can send us pictures, videos, quotes or anything else to funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk 

4. If we have awarded you £5,000 or more, we’ll ask that you send us a brief End of Grant Report telling us how the vehicle has helped support your work in addressing poverty/trauma.

5. As we release payments in advance which are expected to cover a 12-month period, we ask that you wait 12 months from the date your grant is paid before reapplying for another Community Vehicle Grant.

If we don’t award you funding:

1. We’ll send you an email in which we’ll try our best to explain why we’ve not awarded you funding. We will also let you know in our email how soon you can re-apply. If the reason we haven’t awarded you funding is something we think you can address, you may be able to re-apply once you have been able to do so. We’ll explain this in the email.

2. If you would like to have a chat with us about our decision and whether – or how soon – you can re-apply, you can email us on funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk and your Funding Officer will get back to you within five working days.

Feel free to get in touch

If you have any questions about applying for a Community Vehicle Grant, please contact us on 0141 353 4321 or funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk 

We’ve done our best to make sure the above guidance is clear. However, if you have any feedback on this, we’d welcome the chance to talk to you about it.