Blog, News April 2024

Sharpening the focus of Our Funds

Our Chief Executive, Jim McCormick, provides an update on upcoming changes to Our Funds.

When we launched our new strategy in October 2020, we made a commitment to embed cycles of learning and continuous improvement across all our work.  

Since we began our mission to build solutions to poverty and trauma in Scotland, a cost-of-living crisis has followed hard on the heels of the pandemic. This has created new risks as well as intensifying familiar hardships. It remains the toughest of times for many of the people and places we are here to serve.  

We are now starting the final year of our first three-year plan to deliver our ten-year strategy, and we need to consider how and where our funding can make the biggest impact on poverty and trauma. Our Funds is our responsive grant-making offer for constituted groups and registered charities. We have committed to providing at least £200 million to third sector organisations, through this funding route, across the course of our strategy. In order to ensure that we can make the biggest impact on poverty and trauma in Scotland with the resources that we have, later this year, we’ll be introducing some changes to Our Funds. 

We are acutely aware of the high levels of need across the sector just now.  As expected, we have seen a large increase in the number of applications we receive through Our Funds, as well as an improving success rate. This means that demand for Our Funds is significantly higher than the budget we have, and we have to make increasingly difficult decisions on what we can fund.  

We look forward to sharing more details about the changes taking effect later this year, which will include adjustments to the structure of Our Funds. This will include increased levels of potential funding through Wee Grants and Small Grants, as well as changes to the income thresholds we use across all of Our Funds. This will help to direct applicants to the most appropriate funding route for them and ensure our funding is proportionate.  

We are not changing our strategy – instead, we are looking at where we can have the biggest impact within our funding themes and ensuring that we are clear externally about what is in and out of scope for funding. Our purpose is to sharpen the focus of Our Funds to achieve our strategic aims, rather than changing those aims. 

We believe we have a responsibility to undertake this review to ensure that we can make a bigger difference to poverty and trauma in Scotland. We will always aim to do so in a way which is fair and transparent, in keeping with the IVAR Open and Trusting principles for flexible funding. Some choices will be difficult, but we are confident that by sharpening the focus and taking this approach we will be able to go further in building solutions. 

What this means for applicants:  

  • If you have already applied for a grant through Our Funds, we will aim to give you a decision by our published turn-around times. 
  • So that we can make the necessary changes to our communications, applications, monitoring forms and guidance, we will be closing to new applications from 12 noon on Friday 31st May 2024 and reopening with the new look version of Our Funds in September 2024. 
  • If you have begun an application which has not been sent to us by 12 noon on 31st May 2024, we will unfortunately not be able to consider it.  

We will be sharing regular content and updates in the coming months ahead of Our Funds re-opening in September. If you wish to stay up-to-date with our news, please join our mailing list or follow our social channels 

Although this blog provides all the information currently available, we understand that you may wish to get in touch and would recommend you contact in the first instance.