Event report: Access to Funding workshop

Participants at Access to Funding workshop
Norette Ferns

Around 40 people involved in the LEADER programme in Scotland gathered in Stirling on 31 January 2018 for an Access to Funding workshop organised by the Scottish Rural Network.

Four excellent speakers covered a range of topics including asset transfer, community shares, social investment and crowdfunding.

Lynn Molleson from Development Trusts Association Scotland's Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) gave an overview of community asset transfer, key rights in the Community Empowerment Act and possible sources of funding. COSS is a Scottish Government programme to help community-based groups take ownership of assets for community benefit, and to support local authorities and other public agencies to transfer assets into community ownership.

Lynn highlighted some of the benefits of community assets but also warned that just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean that you should. She gave an overview of the Aberdeenshire village of Maud's journey with community assets. Rather than start large-scale, they began with a community garden which made the village more welcoming. They now have a range of community assets including a gym and a cafe. You can find more information on the Maud Village Trust website.

You can find out more about the COSS in the short animation below, and visit their website for more information.

James Proctor from Community Shares Scotland gave delegates an overview of Community Benefit Societies, which are becoming increasingly popular due to the Community Empowerment Act.

James then talked about Community Shares - a funding mechanism which helps fund sustainable community enterprises. Community Shares have been used to fund everything from pubs and shops to media initiatives. Find out more in the short animation at the bottom of the page, and visit the Community Shares Scotland website for more information.

Joanne Karatzidis from Social Investment Scotland (SIS) talked about the social investment model and specifically how SIS can help organisations. They provide investment for other charities and social enterprises looking to make a positive impact on people's lives, society or environment. Since 2001, SIS have invested over £60 million in third sector organisations across Scotland. 

Joanne encouraged people to get in touch with them as early as possible in the process. There are no application forms at SIS, it all starts with a conversation. 

Visit the SIS website for more information.

Tim Wright from Twintangibles gave a whistle-stop tour of crowdfunding, running through different models of crowdfunding, the benefits, some successful campaigns and how to run a crowdfunding campaign. Tim said that crowdfunding is about democratisation, empowerment and reimagination.

Crowdfunding isn't just about funding either, it's also about insight, communication and network. But, Tim warned, it's not easy or straightforward. A lot of work is required in terms of preparation, execution and work after a campaign and many crowdfunding campaigns fail. 

You can find slides from previous presentations on crowdfunding on the Twintangibles website.