Large Grants guidance

Detailed guidance on applying for a Large 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 Large Grants for?

  • For registered charities working in Scotland, with an annual income of between £100,000 and £2 million, that support people who are experiencing (or are at risk of experiencing) poverty or trauma
  • Unrestricted or restricted revenue funding* of between £15,000 and £50,000 per year, for up to five years
  • Apply any time – no set closing date.

*Definitions:
Revenue funding is used to cover the costs of providing day-to-day services. We can provide revenue funding in two ways:
Unrestricted: can be spent on annual running costs of your organisation, such as salaries, heating, lighting, services, consumables and small items of equipment.
Restricted funding: can only be used for a specific project, activity or designated purpose, as applied for or designated by us.

Who can’t apply?

  • Charities who are already in receipt of revenue funding from us. You can only hold one revenue award at a time. This includes revenue funding from our previous Open Grants programme (which closed in early 2020). You can reapply once your existing grant ends 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. 
  • Newly registered charities who have not yet produced annual accounts. Please use the Funding checker on our website to see what you may be eligible for.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A policy on equality and diversity. We want to know that your organisation has a written agreement detailing how you will avoid discriminating against people, and how you will create a safe and inclusive atmosphere both within your workplace and for the people you support.
  • If your request is for funding towards a specific salary cost, you’ll need a full job description, including contracted hours per week and salary scale.

In partnership? If you’re making an application on behalf of a formal consortium of more than one organisation, we will require a signed copy of your Memorandum of Understanding, which includes the contact details for all members. Please note that the lead organisation should make the application on behalf of the consortium and must therefore meet our key eligibility and criteria.

What type of work will you fund?

Through our Large Grants, as with all our funding, we want to support work that 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 fund 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 work focusing on specific groups of people who we know are more likely to experience poverty or trauma, although we will also consider work which is not specifically aimed at these groups.

Partnerships: we are also keen to fund work delivered through both formal and informal partnerships. If your request is being made on behalf of a formal collaboration of more than one organisation, please refer to the ‘What do I need to apply?’ section of this guidance for more information on the additional information we require.

What can I apply for?

  • Revenue funding of between £15,000 and £50,000 per year for up to five years, depending on your need or request.
  • We can consider unrestricted funding, which can be used to support any costs within your organisation, to help you further your work. Where there are elements of your organisation’s work that do not fit with our themes, you may not be eligible for unrestricted funding.
  • Alternatively, we can consider restricted funding for a specific salary, project or service, including any associated equipment costs. We can consider fully funding a small project, part- or full-time salary, or part-funding a larger project or service.
  • You don’t need to have any match funding in place when you apply, however if the expected total costs of your project, service or salary exceed our maximum level of award, you will need to consider additional sources of funding.
  • You can only hold one revenue grant from the Trust at any one time.
  • If your organisation also needs capital funding specifically towards the costs of a vehicle or of developing or improving a community building, you can apply separately for a Community Vehicle Grant or Community Building Grant

What will not be considered for funding?

We’re happy to fund most costs, however there are certain costs and activities we would not consider supporting:

  • Work which takes place outside Scotland
  • Funding for individuals
  • 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
  • Feasibility studies or academic research
  • Replacement of statutory revenue funding for mainstream playgroups and nurseries
  • Standalone events or festivals – i.e. events that are not part of a larger programme of work relating to poverty and trauma
  • Any retrospective costs already incurred by the applicant organisation
  • Any costs not incurred by (or the salaries of staff not directly employed by) the applicant organisation.

If any of the above costs make up a large part of your organisation’s annual expenditure, we will be more likely to restrict any grant we award you.

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 all organisations who apply for a Large Grant to demonstrate how they:

  • Focus on poverty and trauma: by showing that they understand how this affects their community or client group and the challenges they are facing in their lives as a result, as well as how their work responds to this. Organisations applying for higher levels of funding should be delivering work which is specifically targeted at people who are facing poverty and trauma. We would like to see that these organisations have a clear understanding of poverty and trauma, that this is core to their work, and that they can clearly show how their work will make a change.
  • Focus on community: by showing that they 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. This can be a geographic community or a community of interest. Organisations applying for higher levels of funding should show that they have listened to people with lived experience, that they have consulted with their client group and considered their views. They should also have a track record in their field and show that their work will potentially leave a legacy.
  • Focus on relationships: by showing that their work clearly has a relational focus and that this is reflected in their policies and governance; by showing how they involve members/participants and that they apply a rights-based approach in their work (i.e. that they treat people with fairness, dignity and respect).
  • Focus on collaboration: by showing that they know who else is delivering related work and that they have a willingness to collaborate and share learning. Organisations applying for higher levels of funding should have a track record of working collaboratively and have clear plans to share learning from their work.

Other criteria we consider include:

  • The size of grant the applicant organisation is asking for, relative to its annual income – we try to be proportionate in how much we award
  • 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 Large 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 our online application form.

With this, we also ask that you provide:

  • A copy of your most recent independently examined or audited annual accounts
  • A full job description, including contracted hours per week and salary scale, if your request is for funding towards a specific salary cost.

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 10-12 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. Please let us know if there are any changes to these as we are likely to contact you during the assessment of your application. We will 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.
  • 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:

  • 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 (within the last three months).
  • We may also ask you to complete certain actions before we can pay your funds. This is more likely to be the case for restricted awards rather than unrestricted. For example, we might ask you to provide evidence of other funding or let us know when a new postholder has been appointed etc.
  • Once we have the information we’ve asked for, we’ll do our best to pay the funds to your organisation’s bank account within two weeks.
  • We’ll let you know in your award email how and when we’ll ask you for updates on your work during your grant period. In general, we’ll ask you to send us a report at the end of each grant year telling us about your progress. We may use this information to highlight stories and case studies used as part of our Communications work. We may also arrange to visit you or speak to you on the phone to find out how you’re getting on and whether you need any additional support from us.
  • Once your grant period with the Trust has ended and you’ve sent us your final report you can immediately apply to us for further funding.

Take a look at the Support for grant holders section.

If we do not award you funding:

  • 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.
  • 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 Large 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.