How social investment can help organisations secure LEADER funding

By Isla McCulloch, Social Investment Scotland

In this guest blog, Isla McCulloch from Social Investment Scotland tells us more about how they can help projects applying for LEADER funding.

After an uncertain period last year, the LEADER programme is now definitely up and running. At Social Investment Scotland, we’ve seen a significant increase in enquiries over the last few months from organisations who need our help to get their projects financed. With the Brexit stopwatch about to start, securing bridging facilities or match funding now could be really important going forward.

For that reason, we’d like to remind you about the ways in which SIS can help.

Bridging facilities

Used to cover timing issues between the spend and receipt of approved LEADER grant monies, it enables projects to proceed when the secured grant funding is paid in arrears. Approving loans for this type of arrangement is often quite straightforward because we know that the projecr has the means to repay the load once they receive the grant.

Match funding

Many organisations struggle to identify 'qualifying' match funding to secure the LEADER grant. If a project is developing a business solution that generates income and profit, then it may be possible for SIS to consider underwriting a business loan that can be used as match to unlock the grant.

But don’t just take our word for it . . .

Fyrish Gymnastics are a gymnastics club based in Alness in the Highlands. They successfully applied for £35,000 of LEADER funding to install a specialised 'fitted floor' which will enable coaches and young leaders to teach a wider range of skills to participants. They received a Bridging Loan to pay for the installation up front. 

Fyrish Gymnastics are fully inclusive and look to enable people of all ages and abilities to benefit from the programmes. Once the new equipment is installed the club plans to introduce new classes/activities to meet the needs of different groups including disabled people.

This project is innovative in that it will for the first time provide access for people in the Highlands to a purpose made floor for gymnastics and similar activities. In the Central Belt there are over 30 of these floor areas and many different activities take place on them, however there is no comparable piece of equipment north of Perth. 

Claire Bath, Chairperson of Fyrish Gymnastics said:

"Fyrish Gymnastics were delighted to be awarded monies from the LEADER fund and had an excellent project to bring to life. Having such an accessible bridging loan from SIS has enabled us to move this project forward quickly and with ease. For small clubs and Charities accessing finance can often be a barrier to growth, we were able to quickly identify SIS as a reliable provider of the bridging loan giving us the opportunity to meet the requirements of the LEADER Fund and to continue our work in the local community."

Visit the Social Investment Scotland website to find out more.

And you can find out more about Fyrish Gymnastics in the short video below.