Funding opportunities and social enterprise: A major funder perspective

Posted: 09 February 2021, in News

Long before COVID-19 hit our shores, social enterprises in Scotland have been recognised for the huge contribution they make to both our communities and economy. Since the first lockdown, our sense of both communities and our economy have been tested like never before. 

Research in late 2020 by the National Lottery revealed that whilst the pandemic has had devastating effects and consequences for millions, the public response has been extraordinary, and social enterprises have been to the fore delivering in that response.

Whether it’s been helping to feed their community or providing the IT skills that allow people to connect to the wider world, social enterprises have had to be agile to meet the challenges of those they support and at the same time navigate a complicated and challenging financial background. 

The National Lottery Community Fund can help provide support to eligible Social Enterprises to continue to deliver their services and support their communities.

Social enterprises take many different forms, and whilst not every social enterprise will be eligible to apply for our funding, many are included like constituted groups, SCIOs, companies limited by guarantee and CICs. However your organisation is set up there are some basic things you’ll need in place before applying, and you can find out all about these on our dedicated blog.

As far as our funding is concerned, the National Lottery Awards for All Scotland is our most popular fund, is straight-forward to apply for, and awards grants of up to £10,000.

Its broad aims will resonate with many social enterprises. We want to fund work that is led by communities and will help them build strong relationships, improve the places and spaces that matter to them and help more people to reach their potential by supporting them at the earliest possible stages. We can fund running costs, volunteers, salaries, start-up costs, equipment and much more.

If you are looking for more than £10,000, our larger funds may be an option. We fund a wide range of themes through our Improving Lives fund, including: isolation, loneliness, loss; abuse; discrimination; financial hardship; children, young people and families in challenging circumstances. We also fund projects for and led by young people through our Young Start fund. Running broad community wellbeing activities? Take a look at our Community Led fund.

Turnaround times vary across the funds and there’s always competition for funding – but we are keen to hear from those social enterprises that may be considering a project that fits with our aims.

If you are thinking about applying, the best place to start is by getting in touch. Just contact our Scotland team and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your idea or any questions you may have. 

Whilst we are all still “working from home”, we are able (and keen!) to speak to people over the phone if they want to discuss their idea. We look forward to hearing from you!

The National Lottery Community Fund team