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Regenerating Scotland’s community spaces

5 September 2011

Jackie Killeen, Director of the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland shares with us an article she has submitted to Holyrood magazine and its Regeneration supplement out on 5 September.

We all know of those spaces in the heart of our local communities that with some care and attention could improve our local environment and make all our lives a little better. For some communities repairing the leaky roof of their local village hall could help find a new home for a lunch club. For others this could be a piece of unused land which could be transformed into a community allotment, or a derelict play park which could be brought back to life to give local children a safe place to play.

Whatever this place is, our latest targeted funding programme – Community Spaces Scotland – will help bring local people together to be healthier and happier by improving those spaces and places that matter to them.

Over the next three years this £9 million of investment will support around 90 community led improvements to both indoor and outdoor spaces. While we expect most of our investment to be made in developing a physical space, we also hope to provide some funding for staff or activities as part of a suitable project.

Community Spaces Scotland was borne from the findings of our most recent consultation. Our customers and stakeholders told us that they wanted to see funding available to develop both indoor and outdoor spaces that would help to regenerate local areas; a grants programme that sat between our main capital grants programme, Growing Community Assets, and our small grants schemes.

During its development our primary aim was to create a programme of investment that would address local need but would also ensure that the budget available would make the biggest impact possible across Scotland. We understand that most communities could find good use for this type of funding, but we also recognise that with a finite funding pot, that can only support ninety awards over a three year period, we would need to provide a clear focus for our eligibility criteria if we are to make the positive difference we hope.

That’s why we’ve chosen to target our funding at areas where we can make the biggest difference with our investment. We’ve used the latest Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation to form the basis of our decision. To try to be as fair as possible and to ensure our funding targets communities that are most in need, we made adjustments that would balance eligibility across these eight areas to ensure a mix of rural, urban areas and small towns.

Community Spaces Scotland will therefore target those areas where it can make a positive difference by unlocking the potential for communities to take responsibility for their local area. Groups can find out straight away if they are eligible to apply by entering the postcode of their project based into the eligibility checker on our website at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/communityspaces

We want community led organisations to reap the benefits of this programme and are primarily targeting the voluntary and community sector. We expect most grants we make to be less than £100,000 but will accept applications for between £10,000 and £250,000. Projects can apply for up to two years funding and development funding is available if required. We know how difficult it can be for groups to source funding in the current climate and therefore will fund up to 95 per cent of project costs.

Community Spaces Scotland has a two stage application process with deadlines of 2 December 2011 and 7 December 2012 however there is also a one-off, one-stage fast track application process deadline for those projects which are already developed and ready to start. The deadline for fast track applications is 14 October 2011. If you think your group may be eligible to apply through this fast track route you should first confirm if you are eligible to apply using our eligibility checker and call us on 0300 123 7110 to discuss your idea.

Through this investment we will support a number of regeneration projects which we hope will leave a lasting legacy in their communities far beyond the announcement of the first grants in February 2012.

For further details on Community Spaces Scotland call our enquiries line on 0300 123 7110  or visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/communityspaces

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