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May 6, 2015

Placing trust in communities

Groups like Tea in the Pot don’t require much funding to operate on but paradoxically it’s often the groups that need the least that are the first to have their funding cut when times get tough. For want of relatively small amounts of money, huge benefits can be lost to a community. This is part of the reasoning behind the Scottish Government testing out a new approach towards tackling the effects of austerity and welfare reform. That, and a growing belief that communities know best when it comes to where the resources should go. 



The Scottish Government are supporting a pilot grants scheme to ameliorate the impacts of austerity and welfare reform within some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities. The scheme is being coordinated jointly by Development Trusts Association Scotland and Scottish Community Alliance.

This pilot scheme aims to demonstrate that:

•             communities know best what they need

•             when communities have control of a resource, better outcomes are achieved than if that resource is controlled from the top

DTAS/SCA have selected a number of organisations who match the following criteria, which have been agreed with the Scottish Government.

Selected organisations are:

•             Community Anchors

•             In receipt of People and Communities Fund (including Strengthening Communities) grants

•             In the most deprived areas, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

•             With a reasonable geographical spread 

Criteria for the programme:

•             the funding must be used for welfare reform mitigation

•             there is an expectation that it will be disbursed to, or provide support for, grassroots organisations in your particular area .

•             the money cannot fund individuals

•             anchor organisations will be expected to create their own mechanism for spending the grant, as they will know the local situation best. This could, for example, take the form of a small grants programme, a local challenge fund, or a shared participatory budgeting exercise, although not restricted to these models

•             anchor organisations will need to create appropriate light touch evaluation/impact measurement for the grant

•             the recipients are expected to provide a brief report to DTAS/SCA during the funding period, explaining how they spent the money and what difference they believe the funds have made to their community

•             funding may not be used for staffing or core running costs for the anchor organisation

•             funding may not be used for party political activities or support

•             funding must be spent by the end of December 2015