Empowering Communities Programme

We continue to support various community-led regeneration programmes through the Empowering Communities Programme, which includes the following two targeted funds:

The Investing in Communities Fund (ICF) is a streamlined communities fund that is delivered as part of the Empowering Communities Programme. The fund reflects our commitment to investing in communities so that they can develop the resources and resilience to decide their own aspirations, priorities and solutions in response.  The fund supports our most disadvantaged or fragile communities to tackle poverty in all its forms on their own terms.  The fund also helps to meet our targets as set out in the child poverty delivery plan and to underpin the Place Principle by encouraging more joined up collaborative approaches to services and assets to achieve better outcomes for people and communities.

Investing in Communities Fund

Investing in Communities Fund

ICF Round 2: 2023-2026 - Information Webinar Sessions

The Scottish Government hosted webinar sessions on Tuesday 30 November 2021 and Wednesday 8 December 2021 for interested stakeholders and prospective applicants.  This is part of our pre-launch activity for the next round of the Investing in Communities Fund (ICF), which is currently anticipated to open for applications towards the end of March or early April 2022.

These webinars provided an overview of the fund’s aims, eligibility criteria and the application process.  They also included time for Q&A.  We will include details on this webpage should additional webinar sessions be organised for early 2022, so please keep checking here for any updates.  

If your organisation is considering applying to the fund we would recommend that you view the following links to support you with the application process.  This will enable you to build in time to develop your proposals and to work collaboratively with your local community and wider partnerships before the fund opens for applications:

Please note that the funding guidance may be subject to minor revisions between now and the opening of the fund, so please keep checking here for updates.

An audio version of the webinar presentation and FAQs will be uploaded to this page in due course.

ICF Round 1 - 2022/23 funding extension year

The current round of the Investing in Communities Fund (ICF) is due to end on 31 March 2022.  In considering future funding rounds of ICF we would have been planning towards the launch of a second round in 2021. 

However, given the continuing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact this has had on project delivery and service models for currently-funded ICF projects, this would not be the right time to open a full new round of funding.  Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic ICF projects have, with the support of this funding, made a significant contribution in response to the many new challenges we have faced over the past year.  This includes delivering projects in new and different ways, responding to changing needs of people in their communities and meeting increased demand for support.  Some projects may have needed to delay or re-focus planned activities to meet emerging community needs.

We have therefore extended the funding period available for Round 1 ICF projects up to 31 March 2023 where a clear need for extended funding can be demonstrated.

This extended funding period aims to ensure that projects that need it have continued support and stability during the ongoing period of uncertainty, enabling them to meet their intended outcomes by tackling poverty, inequality and rural disadvantage. 

Please see our guidance for information about how we are supporting our ICF projects.

The first round of the fund was open to applications from 7 May to 14 June 2019. 

All applications were assessed against the funds criteria and those supported following the Independent Assessment Panel meeting on 7 October 2019 can be found here:

Aspiring Communities Fund

The £24.8 million Aspiring Communities Fund will help community bodies and third sector organisations in our most deprived and fragile communities develop and deliver long-term local solutions that:

  • address local priorities and needs
  • increase active inclusion
  • build on the assets of local communities to reduce poverty and to enable inclusive growth 

View a list of projects approved for the Aspiring Communities Fund, updated in February 2019.

The Aspiring Communities Fund is not currently accepting applications. Details of future funding rounds will be released when they are available.

Previous Funding 2018 - 2019

The new streamlined Investing in Communities Fund replaces five previous community funds:

  • the People and Communities Fund (PCF)
  • the Strengthening Communities Programme (SCP)
  • the Community Choices Fund (CCF)
  • the Making Places Initiative (MPI)
  • the Fair Food Transformation Fund (FFTF)

Since its launch in 2012, PCF has invested more than £41 million in hundreds of community-led projects that tackle inequality across Scotland.

In 2016 we began support for Participatory Budgeting through our Community Choices Fund.

See a list of Community Choices Fund awards recipients for the following years:

See a list of Making Places Initiative award recipients.

See a list of Fair Food Transformation Fund award recipients.