Empowering Communities Programme

We will continue to support various community-led regeneration programmes through the Empowering Communities Programme in 2019/2020.

We will provide more information about the projects to be supported by the programme in 2019 to 2020 shortly.

The Empowering Communities Programme comprises two targeted funds:

The Investing in Communities Fund (ICF) is a new 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 will support our most disadvantaged or fragile communities, to tackle poverty in all its forms on their own terms.   

Investing in Communities Fund

Future ICF Rounds - 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 are therefore extending 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.  

We anticipate that a second full round of ICF will open for applications in 2022 to cover the period from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026.  Further information regarding ICF Round 2 will be published on this website in due course. 

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

The fund aims to empower communities enabling them to tackle poverty, inequality and rural disadvantage on their own terms, in turn supporting inclusive growth. The fund promotes a more responsive, community-led, place-based approach. One that is flexible and can adapt to existing and emerging community issues, circumstances and priorities.

This new fund supports a range of activity through a staged funding approach, enabling communities to:

  • build community capacity and strengthen community anchor organisations
  • better understand and identify their local aspirations and priorities
  • increase active inclusion and develop opportunities for enhanced engagement for groups who are more vulnerable and harder to reach
  • create local plans and proposals in collaboration with partners
  • prioritise local budgets and access funds
  • develop local assets, services and projects that respond to the needs of the people in their communities
  • deliver community-led solutions that tackle priorities that matter most to communities; and/or
  • develop local interventions which offer opportunities and pathways for social and community integration.

So that they can control more of their own affairs and take forward more of the activities they have identified as being vital to the success of their place. 

The fund aims to encourage a more holistic response in tackling poverty, inequality and rural disadvantage. It does this by recognising that such approaches to the design of projects and services, which are informed by lived experience and are person centred, can deliver multiple positive outcomes.  The fund will help meet our targets set out in the child poverty delivery plan.

A key component of the new Investing in Communities Fund is the availability of multi-year awards for those that who wish to apply for funding over more than one year, to provide essential stability for community-led activity. This recognises that longer term planning and support are needed to help communities unlock the complex interwoven issues which grip people and communities in poverty, experiencing disadvantage, and inequality. The flexible design of the fund further aims to support communities by reducing the administrative burden of applying to multiple funds.

We expect successful projects to demonstrate the Place Principle, which asks that we take a more joined up collaborative approach to services and assets within a place to achieve better outcomes for people and communities.

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.