£29 million to build fairer Scotland

First Minister opens new funding for communities and third sector.

Community and third sector projects that try new ways to tackle poverty and improve people’s lives can now apply for a share of £29 million ‎funding, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The Scottish Government will direct £18.9 million into a new Aspiring Communities Fund to help organisations find new, long lasting community led solutions to poverty, by increasing economic activity or enhancing services to meet local needs.

‎The £9.7 million Growing the Social Economy Programme will enable third sector organisations to try new ideas and approaches by collaborating with research organisations or supporting people to improve their skills.

The £29 million funding over the next two years supports the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, published last October. £12 million of the total funding comes from the European Social Fund.


The Fairer Scotland Action Plan is available at Scottish Government website

Growing the Social Economy Programme

Funding of between £30,000 and £250,000 is available and the programme is open to applications.

The programme will enable third sector organisations to support people to move into better paid employment, increase household income, improve people’s skills and empower people to find solutions to poverty themselves. It will also support social innovation through collaboration between the third sector and research organisations – bringing people together from different backgrounds to design and test innovative approaches to social problems.

Information about the Programme

Guidance and applications for the Social Economy Growth Fund

Applications for the Social Innovation Fund

Aspiring Communities Fund

This Fund will support disadvantaged communities across Scotland and will be open at the end of January 2017. It will support applications from organisations working collaboratively to accelerate the delivery of community-led initiatives to deliver outcomes that meet local needs and priorities. The Fund will strengthen communities, increase levels of economic activity, stimulate inclusive growth, and support local service provision and inclusion by:

  1. Enabling communities to design and establish new or enhanced services addressing poverty and inequalities;
  2. Supporting new staff posts within community organisations to increase levels of economic activity, local service provision and inclusion, and enhance community resilience;
  3. Accelerating the implementation of projects and services delivering longer lasting community-led solutions.