Since its inception in 1996, over £1million in Partnership Funding grants has been provided each year to community groups and voluntary/third sector organisations operating in East Lothian. In the last year, 2017, £1,918,000 was awarded. These organisations have made a significant and positive contribution to the vibrancy and wellbeing of East Lothian’s communities and promoted partnership working.

What is changing?

We are keen to build on the success of Partnerships Grants by maintaining a scheme which ensures grants are aligned with the strategic outcomes of the Council Plan and the East Lothian Partnership’s community planning priorities.

Following a strategic review of the operation of the Scheme, we will be introducing a number of changes to the funding process.

This will achieve a simpler, streamlined application process whilst ensuring that funding awards support our overarching vision – to reduce inequalities in and between our communities and promote prevention and early intervention. The scheme will now be known as the One Council Partnership Fund.

Who can apply?

Organisations which can apply include community groups, charities and social enterprises. All organisations applying for partnership funding must be formally constituted bodies and must have a bank account.

How long is funding available for?

Most grants will be awarded for one year. In some cases partner organisations will now be able to apply for funding for up to three years, if they are delivering services in partnership with the Council under a service level agreement. This will give these organisations the opportunity to plan how best to sustain their projects and help source external funding where appropriate, to build on the investment provided by the council with a view to enhancing self-sustainability and less or no reliance on the One Council Partnership Fund in future years.

What can grants be used for?

Grant funding can be used for a range of initiatives, including start-up costs. The One Council Partnership Fund is not a source of funding for capital projects.

There are now two categories of funding:

  • Small grants of up to £5,000 per annum which may assist with small-scale events, room hire, training (e.g. for community groups), contribution towards legal fees (e.g. to facilitate community asset transfers).
  • Larger grants of over £5,000 per annum which may assist with ‘one-off’ expenditure or contribute to running costs.

Some larger grants may be awarded on a three year basis where an agreed service level agreement is put in place between the partner organisation and the Council.

What do applicants need to provide?

Applicants must clearly demonstrate how their proposal will contribute to East Lothian’s Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP) and the Council Plan and of prime importance, reducing inequalities.

As a condition of grant funding, applicants will be required to submit an end of year project report to evidence the positive impact of the funding. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate which other sources of funding they have applied for, before approaching East Lothian Council for One Council Partnership funding.

Will the application process change?

The funding application form has been revised. From 31st October 2018 Applicants can download an application form or it can be emailed out if requested by emailing [email protected].

In due course, this will be converted to an online application which will be accessed via this website. This will make it easier for applicants to complete and supports the aims of the council’s Digital Strategy. Information will be made available on the website, with details of the timescales for making applications. Assistance for applicants will be available from local Community Learning & Development staff, if required.

When can we apply for funding?

Organisations seeking Partnership Funding in 2019/20 should submit their application during November 2018.

The closing date for applicants will be Friday 30th November 2018.

Applications will be considered and assessed to ensure compliance with the new criteria. Applicants will be notified if their application has been successful by mid-February/early March 2019.

Partners may only apply for funding once in any financial year. The application ‘window’ will operate annually from 1 November to 30 November.

How will applications be assessed?

Appropriate ‘sponsor’ services within the council will be asked to provide confirmation that they agree with and are supportive of the funding application and the stated outcomes. The relevant Service Managers will be asked to provide their specialist insight and confirm if the proposed project seeking funding complements existing provision and does not duplicate either existing service delivery or funding, to support the One Council approach.

How will a Partner in receipt of funds be monitored?

The Head of Communities & Partnerships, in approving a funding application, will identify the most appropriate service e.g. Active Schools, Community Learning & Development, Area Managers, etc., to be remitted to monitor the operation of each Partner to ensure funds are used appropriately in the course of the financial year or the term of the service level agreement in the case of larger funding awards.

All Partners awarded funds will be required to provide an annual report on the use of the funds awarded and the achievement of the outcomes contained within their original application.