"Rather than being a ‘fund’ in the traditional sense, this initiative has been developed to create space for development of meaningful relationships and collaboration with a small number of partners"
When we launched our 2020-30 strategy seven months ago, we recognised that working with a broad spectrum of organisations would be fundamental to its effective delivery.
Our initial funding offer has focused on organisations working towards solutions to poverty, trauma or both with a turnover of less than £2 million. However, this is just one of a number of approaches we are taking and in all cases, these will be underpinned with a commitment to flexibility, learning and continuous improvement throughout the period of our strategy.
With this in mind, we’re excited to share initial details of a new funding initiative launching in May with a focus on larger organisations (turnover of more than £2 million) working in Scotland. We have long since recognised the value of providing unrestricted funds to organisations and this remains a key element of our current Funds. However, the funding we make through this new initiative will be restricted as the focus is solely on the concept of change; this is a word which can be interpreted in many different ways but in this instance we are looking to support work which explicitly seeks to change how services and support for people experiencing poverty and/or trauma are designed and delivered. Our thematic focus is on the contribution of educational and work pathways, financial security and emotional wellbeing/relationships - and the interactions between them.
So, why this focus? Firstly, it is important to stress that our interest in ‘change’ work is not restricted to this new initiative – smaller organisations can and are encouraged to continue to apply through Our Funds. However, rather than being a ‘fund’ in the traditional sense, this initiative has been developed to create space for development of meaningful relationships and collaboration with a small number of partners. Together we hope to gain a better understanding of the enablers of, and barriers to, change around services and support. Our thinking around this has been informed by research, stakeholder engagement and, of course, the impact of COVID, which has sadly not only further exacerbated many of the inequalities our strategy was designed to address, but also highlighted an urgent need to think and work differently. We have already seen incredible agility and responsiveness from the organisations we support through our Funds and are now keen to build partnerships with larger organisations, learning from their unique knowledge, relationships and expertise. We are aware that similar work is being carried out effectively elsewhere and have consulted with a broad number of stakeholders in recent months in an effort to complement this.
We expect to be working with a small group of partners in change - between 6 and 10. We will offer funding of up to £150,000 per year for a three-year period for outstanding proposals and excitingly, will also be opening up to a broader range of organisations including Housing Associations and Credit Unions. We believe that this is an important message which recognises the valuable work being undertaken by organisations of different structures; it is our hope that this will help to generate fresh and deep perspectives on ambitious approaches to social change emerging from the pandemic.
While we continue to refine the details of this new offer in the coming days and weeks, we are keen to make people aware now of its imminent launch. We would also ask all those with an interest in keeping up-to-date to sign up to our mailing list and keep an eye on our website and social channels as we prepare to share more updates shortly.