Partners in Change Guidance

Detailed guidance on applying to Partners in Change

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 7300 or partnersinchange@therobertsontrust.org.uk to discuss alternative ways you can apply.  

Would you rather view the PDF of this guidance? Click here.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest has now passed. 

Partners in Change is available to organisations working in Scotland with an annual income of more than £2M*.  Annual income is based on the money you received in the last financial year, as presented in your most recent set of annual accounts. We understand that your financial position may have changed significantly as a result of the pandemic or by receipt of one-off, capital funding. Please do highlight to us anything which you feel is relevant.   

It will support work which aims to change how services and supports for people experiencing poverty and/or trauma are designed and delivered.  The ultimate aim of this work is to reduce the impact that poverty and trauma has on people’s lives. For more information on what we mean by poverty and trauma click here.

Through the fund, we are interested in providing funding to, and working alongside, the organisations we support to better understand the factors that can help to create change around services and supports for people experiencing poverty and/or trauma, and the barriers to this change. 

A small cohort of organisations (we anticipate in the region of 10) will be supported through an initial round of funding, which will offer each a maximum of £150,000 per year for three years.

* The Robertson Trust supports change work across our Funds and organisations with a turnover of less than £2M are able to apply through these other options.

Who is Partners in Change for?

  • For organisations with an annual income of more than £2M who wish to develop approaches to drive positive change in the design and delivery of services and supports for people in Scotland who are facing poverty, trauma or both.
  • The following types of organisation are eligible to apply:
  • Registered Charities
  • Asset Locked Community Interest Companies (must be able to demonstrate a satisfactory asset lock demonstrating how they do not distribute assets or profits to individuals or third parties)
  • Housing Associations
  • Credit Unions

If the proposed project is being delivered by a subsidiary company with a different legal structure to that outlined above, the application (EOI) should be made by the parent company, which must meet our published eligibility criteria.

Who can’t apply?

  • Organisations with an annual income of less than £2M.
  • Other types of organisation which are not listed above.

What do I need to apply?

  • A minimum of three unconnected Trustees on your organisation’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 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? We are particularly interested in collaborative approaches to Partners in Change.  If you’re making an application on behalf of a formal consortium of more than one organisation, please be aware that we will require a signed copy of your Memorandum of Understanding if you’re invited to the second stage of our application process, which includes the contact details for all partners. Please note that the lead organisation should make the application on behalf of the consortium and must therefore meet our key eligibility and criteria. Other partners in the consortium do not need to meet our eligibility criteria.

What type of work will you fund?

  • Partners in Change has been established to support work which aims to change how services and supports addressing poverty and/or trauma are designed and delivered. This could include supporting organisations, either alone or in partnership, to:
    • test new ways of working;
    • replicate an intervention or support that has been trialled successfully elsewhere (either by your own organisation or another);
    • move a service/support trialled successfully to a larger scale.
  • This work could be focused on providing early support to people, aimed at preventing or reducing negative experiences and outcomes due to poverty and/or trauma; or on meeting the immediate needs of people experiencing poverty and/or trauma.
  • We will fund change proposals which are already developed, or in the latter stages of development. We would expect organisations to begin delivery of their project no later than 12 months from notification of our funding decision (starting before August 2022 at the latest).
  • We are interested in organisations which plan to work collaboratively in the delivery of their change programme, be that with other agencies and organisations, or service users.
  • It is important to us that the organisations we fund through Partners in Change are committed to evaluation and to learning, both from their own work, and from others funded through this initiative. We are interested in work that has local or national reach.

In line with our current strategy, organisations should be seeking to address one or more of the following issues:

We would also expect organisations to be working in a focussed way with at least one of our prioritised demographic groups which are:

  • Certain family groups (larger families, single parents, those with children who have experience of care)
  • Women
  • People with a disability
  • People from a BAME background
  • Asylum seekers and refugees
  • People experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage
  • People living in certain geographical locations (particularly remote and rural ones)
  • Older people
  • Young people under 25

What can I apply for?

  • Project restricted revenue funding of up to £150K* per year, for up to three years. This could include staffing costs and direct delivery costs. * We expect that most projects will require funding of £50K or over per year, however, we may still be able to consider your request if your costs are lower or in exceptional circumstances, slightly higher. This could be discussed at the point of application.
  • We encourage applicants to include within their project budget full cost recovery (i.e. direct project costs and a proportionate share of organisational overheads), in addition to evaluation costs. We are happy to consider both part funding and fully funding the costs of Partners in Change proposals.

What will not be considered for funding?

  • Unrestricted funding or core costs in isolation, where these are not related to your change project
  • Course delivery for universities/colleges, core service provision for housing associations and credit unions
  • Interventions which are not aimed at changing or improving the services and supports accessed by people experiencing poverty and trauma, with the aim of improving life experiences and outcomes for these individuals
  • Applications which don’t include a clear commitment to build on prior learning and advance the evidence base through appropriate evaluation
  • Applications which are about improving or changing internal organisational capacity, capabilities or structure (unless there is a clear link to how this will improve outcomes for people experiencing poverty and/or trauma)
  • Non-financial support
  • Work which solely seeks to build understanding of the causes of poverty
  • Restricted funding for capital projects (we may consider small items of capital expenditure related to your change project)

What do you look for in the Expression of Interest?


At this stage we are interested in:

  • Your organisation

We will check that your organisation meets the eligibility criteria outlined above. We will ask you to tell us about your organisation’s work, including the main services it delivers and who it supports. 

  • Your work

We will ask you to provide a summary of your change proposal, to tell us what it is that you will be changing, how this will result in improved outcomes for people affected by poverty and/or trauma. We will ask you to tell us about anyone else who has been involved in the development of your proposal, or who will be involved in the delivery (including intended users of your services or supports).

How do I apply?

The application process for Partners in Change is in two stages: an initial expression of interest followed by a full application.

Interested organisations should complete and send us an Expression of Interest before 3rd  June 2021. We may arrange a brief conversation with those applying at this stage, should we need to clarify details.

What happens next?

We’ll email you to let you know that we’ve received your Expression of Interest form. This will then be reviewed, together with all proposals we receive and we will aim to let you know the outcome of our decision by 18th June.

If you are invited to proceed to the next stage we will send you a link to our Stage Two application form which we would ask you to return to us by no later than 16th July. This second stage of the process will involve a more in-depth conversation between applicants and members of our Partners in Change team here at the Trust to explore in more detail the nature of your proposal. This will include hearing about  your experience of delivering and evaluating change initiatives and how you plan to evaluate your project.

Feel free to get in touch.

If you have any questions about applying to Partners in Change, please contact us at partnersinchange@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.