Community Grants - Delivering Social Impact
Since launching a Community Grant scheme in 2017, the University of Edinburgh has invested over £555,000 in more than 210 community projects in south-east Scotland.
Since launching a Community Grant scheme in 2017, the University of Edinburgh has invested over £555,000 in more than 210 community projects in south-east Scotland. The scheme has created or strengthened relationships between the University and more than 170 local community organisations. The grants of up to £5,000 have, based on a conservative estimate, had direct benefit for more than 26,000 local people.
The Community Grant scheme reflects the special importance the University places on its role within the city region. Founded by Edinburgh’s Town Council in 1583, the University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world to be established on a civic foundation. The University was the first in Scotland to have a formal community engagement strategy (launched 2016) and social and civic responsibility is one of the four focuses of the University’s Strategy 2030.
The Community Grant scheme funds projects which aim to have a positive social impact, and a recent evaluation of the scheme’s impact over the last five years showed that over 50% of projects contributed to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing. Around half of the projects also reported to have contributed to Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities.
The scheme aims to be more than just funding and builds a sense of community through meetups, sharing knowledge and opportunities. Most completed projects have continued beyond the University-funded period, and in some cases, the University’s name has helped leverage further funding. University funding also allowed proof of concept and building of relationships that were then used to continue initiatives.
We had established the need for a service such as this, but hadn’t yet secured funding. To have Edinburgh University on board from early on acted as leverage for significant funding from several different supporters and we are extremely grateful for the University’s early adoption of this project. Funding has now been secured for the project for the current year YR2 and in part for YR 3.
West Lothian Financial Inclusion Network
West Lothian Financial Inclusion Network is a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) registered charity which aims to ensure that all West Lothian residents are aware of their financial choices and promotes access to financial advice, financial products, and other services, particularly for the most excluded social groups.
West Lothian Financial Inclusion Network has successfully received five rounds of grant funding under the Community Grants scheme. This includes one substantive grant, and four micro-grants including the Covid-19 and sustainability themed micro-grant funding.
All funded projects supported children and families experiencing food poverty, social isolation, and financial instability by providing meals, winter essentials and inclusive means of shopping affordably.
In 2021, the Team North Pole project provided over 900 Christmas-wrapped shoeboxes, filled with new practical gifts and festive treats, to vulnerable families. This alleviated the stress for parents already concerned about meetings their essential outgoings.
Leith Covid Memorial Tiles, Leith Community Pottery
This is a community arts project that provides a safe space for community members to create individualised ceramic tiles that memorialise losses and bereavements from Covid-19. Andy Lang, the Potter of Leith, is working together with University staff (Binks Hub) to deliver this project.