£5 million to community projects across Scotland

Three people walking outside
Sophie Law

After awarding its final grant for the financial year just last week, the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund brought the total number of projects awarded by the grant to 119 initiatives across Scotland, with a total of £5 million allocated. The vast majority of these projects are working at a local level supporting third-sector and community groups to deliver active travel and behaviour change within their communities.

Graham McQueen, Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Manager said:

"We are delighted to have been able to allocate the full £5 million fund across such fantastic community projects in Scotland. The climate crisis affects communities and real people on the ground and our support helps these people and communities to change their travel behaviour during such a pivotal time, whilst also improving their health and wellbeing and making our streets more pleasant places to live."

Building on the success of previous years, the SCSP Open Fund was doubled from £2.5 million to £5 million this financial year and allocating the full amount shows that there is a real appetite within communities across Scotland to change the way that we travel and to build towards a more sustainable way of living. They hope to be able to commit to meeting these apparent needs and demands and to be able to continue our support into the new financial year and beyond. Paths for All have said they are very grateful for the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland's support and commitment to both the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme and to encouraging and supporting people across the country to change the way that they travel.

Paths for All, were particularly enthused with the increase in projects supporting and encouraging walking for everyday journeys. Walking is the most environmentally friendly mode of transport and is also the most accessible mode of active travel to the largest proportion of society. If we are to achieve large-scale behaviour change towards active and sustainable travel then walking is the most realistic and effective way we can achieve this.

Examples of brilliant walking projects include Live Active's Buddy Walks programme in Perth and Kinross and Ramblers Scotland Scottish Paths Map project working across the nation to improve accessibility.

The 2022/2023 round of the Open Fund is now fully allocated and it is anticipated to be re-launching in early June. If you'd like to keep up-to-date with news from the Open Fund, please sign up to their newsletter.

For information on how to apply for a Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund grant of between £5000 and £100,000, click here.