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May 31, 2011

Ideas worth investing in

The Big Lottery Fund describes itself as an intelligent funder. Not sure what that means but one of its more enlightened grant programmes has been the Investing in Ideas fund. Relatively simple to apply for, up to £10,000 is a decent amount of cash for groups to test out whether an idea is worth working up into a major application. The variety of what gets funded is worth looking at.  Might even inspire

Innovative groups with big ideas for their communities are set to share in £269,295 of Lottery funding today. Across Scotland 29 different projects have received the green light to begin developing their ideas, thanks to grants from the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Ideas scheme.

Investing in Ideas awards grants of between £500 and £10,000 to test and develop ideas that could eventually become fully fledged projects. The scheme can pay for a wide variety of activities including market research, public consultations and feasibility studies.

Plans to preserve local jobs in New Pitsligo, Fraserburgh by purchasing the village bakery have received a welcomed boost thanks to a £9,500 grant. The Fraserburgh Development Trust will use the award to investigate the possibility of purchasing the bakery and developing it into a social enterprise which would provide employment, training and learning opportunities for local people. This will include obtaining an independent valuation of the bakery and its premises, surveys of the building, developing a business plan and accessing specialist advice on food production.

Young people in Leith will be showing off their musical talents at next month’s Leith Festival, thanks to a grant of £3,900. The Leith Festival Association, which runs a community arts festival celebrating Leith’s heritage, culture, diversity and people takes place between 10th and 19th June in 50 local venues. Thanks to its Investing in Ideas award, the group will pilot a youth music initiative which will encourage young people to take part in the festival through performance and behind the scenes roles. It will also provide these young people with  opportunities to volunteer and gain work experience in the music industry.

The Cockenzie House Heritage Group today receives £10,000 to help develop its idea of turning the Cockenzie House and Gardens in Port Seton, East Lothian into a community hub with a café, flexible meeting space and visitor accommodation. The group will use the grant to have the property valued and to produce a feasibility study and business plan to help it decide on the best and most sustainable uses for the house and gardens.

Announcing today’s funding totalling £269,295, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Alison Magee, said: “Through Investing in Ideas we give groups the space and time to test their ideas no matter how big or small. Developing a pilot music initiative for young people in Leith and bringing the village bakery into community ownership in Fraserburgh may seem like two very different projects but they both have one thing in common; they recognise the importance of testing and developing their ideas at an early stage. With this solid grounding behind them I am sure each of today’s successful groups will go onto develop strong and sustainable projects that have the support of their communities behind them.” Other groups receiving Investing in Ideas grants today include A Greener Hawick which will use its award of £10,000 to investigate the possibility and viability of a community owned wind farm and East Renfrewshire Community Enterprise Trust which will explore the possibility of establishing a childcare facility for children aged 0-3 years in Barrhead thanks to its £10,000 grant.

A range of organisations can apply to Investing in Ideas, including voluntary and community sector groups, social enterprises, charities, local authorities and health bodies. For more  information on the programme and how to apply visit:

For a full list of all 12 Investing in Ideas grants made across Scotland today go to: click here