Wee Grants guidance

Guidance on applying for a Wee Grant.

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

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

Following a successful pilot last year, we are delighted to make our Wee Grants a permanent funding offer. The pilot reached a new audience of small charities and constituted groups – we know the important work that these organisations do in their communities and we wanted to continue to support them.  

Who and what are Wee Grants for?

  • For constituted community groups* and registered charities* working in Scotland, with a total annual income of under £25,000, that support people who are experiencing (or are at risk of experiencing) poverty, trauma or both
  • Funding of between £300 and £2,000 for one year only
  • Apply any time – no set closing dates

*Definitions:

Constituted community group: A group of people who come together to work toward a common agreed charitable purpose. The group is run on a voluntary basis and is set up as an organisation with a management committee, constitution and a bank account in its own name. The group is not registered as a charity or with any other regulatory body.

Registered charity: A voluntary organisation set up only for charitable purposes and to provide public benefit. It’s registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and will have a charity number in the format SC012345.

Who can’t apply?

  • Organisations who are already in receipt of funding from us, whether this is a Wee Grant or one of our other funds
  • Organisations who distribute funding to third parties, including to individuals in the form of grants or bursaries
  • Umbrella organisations, for example those who coordinate the activities of member organisations and don’t directly deliver activities.
  • We cannot accept applications from Community interest companies, limited companies which are not registered charities and community benefit societies with exclusive membership policies.

What does my organisation need to apply?

  • A minimum of three members on your group or charity’s management committee or board, at least two of whom are unconnected. 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.
  • A bank account in the name of the group or charity, with two unconnected people required to make withdrawals or payments. We’ll ask you to provide a copy of a recent bank statement dated within three months. Guidance on what this should show is in our example bank statement (PDF).
  • A safeguarding policy. If your work involves children, young people or vulnerable adults, you’ll need to have a policy in place which sets out how you’ll keep them safe. If you are not sure whether you need a safeguarding policy or would like some resources and advice for putting one together, take a look at the NSPCC or Children 1st websites.
  • If you are a constituted group, you’ll need to have a constitution in the name of your organisation, which is signed and dated as having been adopted by its management committee.
  • If you are a community group or a newly registered charity, you’ll need to provide details of an independent referee. This should be someone who works in your community and who knows your work. Examples of this might be a teacher, community councillor, GP, social worker or someone from your local authority or Third Sector Interface. We routinely contact referees, so please make sure the person whose details you’ve given is happy for us to get in touch.

What type of work will you fund?

Through Wee 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:

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

The kind of work or projects we would expect to fund include help with food and fuel poverty; advocacy and advice work, support for digital access, support for people affected by homelessness and housing issues.  

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

In this theme, we would expect to fund work like community social activities, befriending, mental health support, support groups, family support, community gardens, Men’s Sheds and women’s shelters.

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

In this theme, we would expect to fund work like tutoring projects, training, ESOL classes, digital skills and support for people looking for work.

None of these lists are exhaustive. We will support a wide variety of work, but it is important that it addresses issues of poverty or trauma in some way, and that this is shown in the application.

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. If you work with any of these groups, please mention it in your application.

A local, community-led approach: 

The purpose of Wee Grants is to fund initiatives at a local level. We would expect the work of your organisation to be driven and led by your local community and respond to the needs of the community around poverty and trauma.

By community we mean both the people who live in a certain local area or a community of interest, for example, parents who live in a certain geographical area.

Please tell us in your application how your work meets the needs of the local community and how you involve the community in your work. For example, perhaps the board of your organisation or your volunteers are made up of people who live in the local community.

What can I apply for?

You can apply for a Wee Grant to:

  • Part or fully fund your work or project up to a maximum of £2,000
  • Fund the costs of a specific project where the total project costs are less than £25,000
  • Fund your day to day running costs, provided your annual income is less than £25,000

We’re happy to fund most costs – whether revenue or capital. However, there are certain types of costs and activities we don’t support:

  • Work which takes place outside Scotland
  • Funding for individuals, e.g. bursaries or travel passes
  • Projects and activities which involve the promotion of political or religious beliefs
  • Feasibility studies or academic research
  • Replacement of statutory revenue funding for mainstream playgroups and nurseries
  • Requests from school parent councils for activities or equipment for curricular use
  • Capital costs of memorials and statues
  • The purchase of buildings and/or land
  • Capital refurbishment costs on buildings not owned by your organisation or on which you do not have an appropriate lease
  • Any retrospective costs your organisation has already incurred.

How do I apply?

Please complete the online application form. You can also upload any documentation you need to send us through the online form.

If you aren’t able to complete the online form, you can request a paper copy application form, which you can email to us along with your supporting documentation to weegrants@therobertsontrust.org.uk 

What’s in the application form?

  • We’ll ask what your organisation does and who you support. Please keep this simple and avoid using jargon or just restating your organisation’s charitable aims – we would like to hear about your work in your own words! If you work with any of the groups of people listed above, please tell us. Please also tell us about any other groups or services in your area that you work with.
  • We’ll ask you to tell us about the work you would like funding for, and how this will make a difference in your community. We want to hear about the services or activities you will deliver and how these will make a difference for the people you support. Please make sure you have read the information in our guidance above and understand the three themes relating to poverty and trauma which we are interested in. You don’t need to apply for a specific project – we can also consider funding the day to day services or activities your organisation delivers. You don’t need to try and come up with something ‘new’ – we are happy to consider existing or ongoing work.
  • We’ll also ask you how this work will involve your community. We want to fund organisations who are community-led, for example having local people on your committee or volunteers from the area you work in. We are interested in funding organisations who talk to their community, who understand the issues people face and work to address these.

What happens next?

We’ll email you to confirm we’ve received your application and when you can expect to receive a decision. We’ll aim to tell you the outcome of your application within 8 weeks. However, if we need any additional information from you, one of our team may get in touch before then.

It is important that the contact details you give us are correct and up to date, as we may need to get in touch with questions about your application, and to tell you our decision. Please let us know if any of these details change after you’ve sent us your application.

If we award you funding:

  • If we decide to award you funding, we’ll email you to let you know.
  • We’ll do our best to pay the funds to your organisation’s bank account within two weeks of our award email, subject to receipt of your organisation’s bank details which we’ll ask you to provide in our award email. You can then start to use our funds!
  • You don't need to send us a report, 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 weegrants@therobertsontrust.org.uk 
  • Your Wee Grant is for a 12-month period. It’s fine for you to use the funds within a shorter timeframe, but we ask that you wait 12 months from the date of the award confirmation email before you apply again for a Wee Grant. This is so that other organisations have a chance to apply for funding.

Take a look at the Support for grant holders section for useful information.

If we don’t 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. If you would like to have a chat with us about our decision, you can email us at weegrants@therobertsontrust.org.uk and a member of our team will aim to give you a call within 3 working days.
  • You can apply again for a Wee Grant at any time. Before you do, please consider the reason we haven’t awarded you funding this time. If it’s something you can address, we would welcome a new application from you, however we would expect you to tell us how you have addressed the issue.

Frequently asked questions

We don’t have a bank statement yet. Can we still apply?

You should only apply when you are able to provide the supporting documentation asked for. We know this may be difficult in some cases due to Covid-19, so we may be able to let you send us this later. Please tell us about this in your application and, if completing our online form, upload a blank document where it asks you provide a bank statement. We ask that you send us a bank statement within 14 days to weegrants@therobertsontrust.org.uk 

This also applies to accounts or financial statements (except for newly registered charities or groups, who do not need to provide financial statements). Please note that we won’t be able to consider your request until we’ve received this documentation and will therefore delay our decision.

We bank with a credit union. What information do you need?

We need to see documentation which clearly shows the following:

  • The name of the credit union you bank with
  • The name the account is in, which should be the name of your organisation
  • The sort code and account number
  • The membership/payroll number for your organisation

Please also make sure that your credit union can accept payments from third parties as we are unable to make payments to individuals’ personal accounts.

We are a newly registered charity/group and don’t have accounts or financial statements yet. Can we still apply?

Yes! We’ll just ask you to provide a recent copy of a bank statement, dated within 3 months, and details of an independent referee.

I’m not sure what financial information you need, and why?

We ask for financial statements so that we can see what income your organisation brings in and what it spends this on. This helps us determine your need for funding from us.

If you are a registered charity, you are required by law to provide annual accounts to the charity regulator in Scotland (OSCR) which must be reviewed externally by someone independent of your charity. This external check can take the form of an independent examination or an audit. Further information on this can be found on the OSCR website.

If you are a constituted group you don’t need to provide formal accounts, however we would still expect you to be able to demonstrate how you manage your finances and keep appropriate records of your organisation’s income and expenditure for any given period. This could be a simple statement of income and expenditure which also shows the funds held at the end of the period. These don’t need to be externally examined but should be signed and dated as being approved by someone on your committee.

We are a constituted group. Do you need to see a copy of our constitution?

During our Wee Grants pilot, we asked you to send us a copy of your constitution. However, based on feedback from applicants, we have decided to no longer ask for this.  We hope this makes the process of applying for a Wee Grant easier for smaller groups.  However, you still need to have an appropriate constitution in place to apply for a Wee Grant.

Your constitution must be in the name of your organisation; be signed, dated and adopted by your management committee and include your organisation’s objectives and powers, which are charitable in nature.

We would also expect your constitution to have an ‘open’ membership clause, which states that membership of your organisation is open to all and cannot be refused without good reason and; include a dissolution clause which states that, if the organisation winds up, any remaining assets must be transferred on to another voluntary organisation or charity with similar aims. 

Why do you need details of an independent referee?

If you are a newly registered charity, or a constituted group, this may be the first time we’ve received an application from you and heard about the work you do. It’s helpful for us to have details of an independent referee, someone from your community, who can vouch for your work. This also lets us know that you are well linked in within your local community and are known to others. Please make sure you have permission to provide their details and that they are happy for us to get in touch.

We have a video or other content we feel would best showcase our work. Can we send you this as our application?

We’re happy to look at alternative ways for you to tell us about your work or project. Please get in touch with us to discuss how we can support you to apply in this way.

Can we send our application to you by post?

Due to Covid-19, our staff are working remotely and may be for some time. To ensure we receive your application safely, we’d advise you to try and complete the online form or send us a paper copy by email. If you are unable to do so however, you can post your application to us at Robertson House, 152 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4TB. However, there is limited staff access to the building and so it may take a bit longer for your application to reach our team of assessors.

Feel free to get in touch

If you have any questions about applying for a Wee Grant, please contact us on 0141 353 4321 or weegrants@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.