Support for third sector groups and community organisations available

Accelerate logo
Alan Robertson

Support is being made available for third sector groups and community organisations through the Scottish Government funded Accelerate programme.

Delivered by Community Enterprise, Accelerate is a fully funded programme providing mentoring and guidance to help third sector groups and community organisations become more financially sustainable.  It offers an average of six days’ free support tailored to suit the needs of the organisations.

The Accelerate programme is for those who are:

  • Based in Scotland and delivering benefits in Scotland
  • Asset locked (nonprofit distributing)
  • Constituted or pre-constituted
  • Non trading (not taking a social enterprise or commercial approach)
  • Willing to make change to their organisation to become more sustainable

Accelerate provides around six days of support which is broad and flexible. The type of support is largely up to you and what you think will meet your specific needs. As examples, groups and organisations have used Accelerate to:

  • Develop marketing plans
  • Look at other funding options
  • Explore new trading ideas
  • Plan financially and work on budgets
  • Improve branding
  • Work on a business plan
  • Strengthen their Board
  • Look at their legal structure
  • Find digital solutions

Community Enterprise has 35 years of experience in providing tailored support to social enterprises, community groups and charities to help them towards greater sustainability and effectiveness. They have supported a range of organisations through the Accelerate programme, including the Alva Development Trust (ADT).

ADT was established in 2018 to bring additional benefit to the local community in Alva, Clackmannanshire. A key part of its activity is the management of Cochrane Hall in the town – and, more recently, the nearby public toilets. The management of the Hall involves co-ordinating events such as weddings, conferences, meetings etc. It is also exploring the possibility of converting the old public toilets into a community café. ADT accessed the Accelerate Programme with a view to getting specific support to:

  • Develop a funding strategy and showcase ADT’s positive impact
  • Make best use of its digital presence – via website/social media etc.

The strategy has gone beyond funding alone, with a five-year plan to address matters such as: ongoing community engagement; event management; volunteer management; Board recruitment; succession planning; and longer-term financial sustainability.

ADT said of Accelerate:

"This service is invaluable to any third sector organisation that wishes to improve and expand its practices. Working with Accelerate has enabled us to look inwardly at ourselves and strive to continue to grow.”

Accelerate has also provided ADT with a comprehensive Digital Marketing Audit with recommendations to boost its online presence and promote the Trust’s activities both within the local community, to potential new customers as well as to current and possible future funders.

To find out more about the programme, including a link to apply online go to Accelerate