Blog, News September 2021

£2.4 million awarded to ambitious projects tackling poverty and trauma in Scotland

We are delighted to announce our new partners who have been awarded more than £2.4 million in funding to generate fresh perspectives and drive ambitious approaches to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of poverty and trauma in Scotland.

We are delighted to announce that six organisations have been awarded more than £2.4 million in funding to generate fresh perspectives and drive ambitious approaches to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of poverty and trauma in Scotland.

The Partners in Change fund opened for applications in May 2021.

Demand for funding was extremely high, with 155 proposals for funding received by the Trust, requesting over £47 million to fund projects across the country.

The successful organisations include a number of pilot services, including work to support refugees arriving in Scotland with immigration advice services and representation.

Organisations supporting children with experience of poverty and/or trauma and care experienced college students to overcome poverty, mental health issues, homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, were also awarded funding.

Partners in Change focuses on the concept of change, and its application to how services and support for people experiencing poverty and/or trauma are designed and delivered across Scotland.

It is estimated that 17% of Scotland's population (910,000 people each year) were living in absolute poverty after housing costs between 2016 and 2019. During the same period, it is estimated that 24% of children (230,000 children each year) were living in relative poverty after housing costs.

The successful organisations include:

  • The University of Strathclyde - Awarded £445,055 for their change project which is focused on identifying actions that make paid employment sustainable protection against poverty. This partnership between the University’s Fraser of Allander Institute, Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures and the Poverty Alliance will work with employers and related public services, as well as people in poverty, to identify and implement meaningful change that will reduce the risk of in-work poverty.
  • Scottish Refugee Council – Awarded £450,000 to pilot a case management model with newly arrived and dispersed families, supporting them with immigration advice and representation to increase access to justice and reduce poverty for 200 families in Scotland. The project will partner with Latta & Co and JustRight Scotland.
  • Aberlour Child Care Trust – Awarded £409,153 for their Tayside Family Financial Wellbeing Project, which aims to facilitate the systems-change needed to promote new and different approaches to financially assisting vulnerable families. This project will be delivered in partnership with local families and Tayside Councils.
  • Capital City Partnership – Awarded £300,000 for the adaptation of “Maximise” which takes a child-centred, family minded approach to tackling child poverty in Edinburgh. Working together with partners including Children 1st and Community Help and Advice Initiative, the approach will be adapted and extended to better meet the needs of Black and Ethnic Minority Communities.  
  • Action for Children – Awarded £450,000 for the delivery of the STAY Programme, which seeks to improve college retention, completion and success rates amongst care-experienced young people.  Action for Children will work with Glasgow College, West College Scotland, Edinburgh College and other partners to provide broader support for students, outwith the college setting, to deal with complex issues such as poverty, mental health, homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, money management, financial abuse or unemployment.
  • Apex Scotland – Awarded £337,731 to develop and test a trauma-informed environment both for the users of Apex’s services, primarily people facing severe and multiple disadvantages, and the staff that deliver them. Apex Scotland will partner with Resilience Learning Partnership and a Psychotherapist trained in Traumatic Stress Studies to develop and embed this work. The project will be tracked by an embedded researcher who will produce a final evaluation overseen by University of Dundee.

Commenting on the announcement of the Partners in Change awards, Lesley MacDonald, Head of Giving at The Robertson Trust, said:

 “The current global health crisis has clearly demonstrated the role that communities, as well as the organisations working with them, have in addressing need and enacting change. But the crisis has also highlighted the huge strain under which these communities and organisations already were, and the need they have for better resource and support.

“Partners in Change aims to get behind aspirational change plans to shift the problems caused by poverty and trauma in Scotland. I am delighted that we are able to support these organisations, which have demonstrated their ambition to make a difference to the communities and people with whom they work and who are affected by poverty and trauma across the country.

“We received an extremely high number of applications for funding, totalling over £47 million. Unfortunately, we are unable to fund every project in this round of funding, but are committed to working with the third sector, organisations, communities and individuals to ensure we can support them in other ways, including helping to build capacity, skills and capability.

"We look forward to working with our partners and are keen to learn alongside them, to understand what helps and hinders in achieving our mutual ambition of ending poverty and trauma, and its negative impacts, in our society.”

Commenting on the announcement of the Partners in Change award, our partners said:

Rona Hunter, CEO of Capital City Partnership commented:

“We are delighted to have secured this funding for the next three years from The Robertson Trust.  It has been a valuable and refreshing approach to supporting change. We welcome the opportunity to work alongside our partners and families from Black and Minority communities to make deep inroads into tackling poverty.  We intend to use this platform for wider stakeholder and community engagement, bringing in new voices and experiences and creating wider influence for systemic change.  This funding will make a tangible difference to many people.”

Alan Staff, CEO of Apex Scotland commented:

“Apex Scotland are thrilled to gain this award, which allows us to create a model for trauma informed working. We will initiate a cultural change programme across the organisation designed to increase our ability to listen and respond to the voices and experiences of those we serve, and use this to create a continuous improvement environment where the unique experiences of the individual are valued and empowered. Through action research, a priority is to identify and evidence the systems and processes that can actually increase the impact that trauma has on individuals and that can re-traumatise them, and to produce recommendations for system change that make that preventable.”

Sally Ann Kelly, CEO of Aberlour, commented:

“Every day Aberlour encounters families trapped in poverty and debt. We know what can help them get back on their feet. We are so grateful to The Partners in Change Fund for this generous investment.

The grant enables us to act on what families tell us. We will undertake systems-change work with partners across Tayside to make financial support systems work better. We will be working closely with families, councils and local organisations to improve financial wellbeing. The funding will allow us to undertake debt relief work including hiring two strategic Financial Wellbeing Co-ordinators and test potential change activities.”

Paul Carberry, Action for Children’s Director for Scotland, commented:

“We are incredibly grateful for this funding which will allow Action for Children to reach more young in need of support. I would like to thank The Robertson Trust for its continued support for the work we do throughout Scotland.

“Action for Children’s STAY Programme is a crucial support service that helps young people sustain their education amidst the life challenges they have to contend with in their personal lives. We always employ a holistic approach in our work with children, young people and families and the STAY programme is an excellent example of this.

“Mental wellbeing is a vital prerequisite for learning and this initiative works to help young people create a stable foundation in their life so they are in a position to pursue education and enhance the opportunities available to them.”

Emma Congreve, Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, commented:

“Low pay and insecure contracts undermine the health and wellbeing of the workforce and their families, as well as threaten the viability of customer focussed businesses who depend on a motivated and experienced workforce to compete and thrive.

This investment from the Robertson Trust unlocks a key opportunity to bring together businesses alongside those with experience of low pay and poverty in a facilitated process of learning and adaptation to a more sustainable, productive and poverty-free future. We know that this future is achievable and essential. This project will enable change on a small scale and provide the evidence to prove what is possible elsewhere.  “

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council’s commented:

“We’re delighted to receive this funding to support our work with families rebuilding their lives in Scotland.  

“Forced migration and the UK’s asylum system take a huge toll on people’s health and wellbeing. Poverty, stress, precariousness and loneliness are designed into the system and are experienced by almost all of the families we work with.

“Our Change programme will take a new approach to supporting people all the way through the asylum process, providing intensive early support and much needed legal advice to help people settle and thrive right from the first day of arrival.”

Please note that our Partners in Change fund is currently closed. To be kept informed of our future funding opportunities, please sign up to our mailing list.