Investing in Communities Fund round two: final funding guidance

Investing in Communities Fund 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026: guidance note for applicants.

Assessment criteria

We will review applications to ensure they are fully completed and meet the fund’s criteria and eligibility requirements. Materially incomplete applications or those that do not meet the fund’s criteria and eligibility will not be assessed further.

Applications will then be assessed against the criteria as outlined below. Applications may be shared with the relevant Local Authority Community Team and Third Sector Interface (TSI) for the area the application is covering. These partners will not be scoring the proposal but will instead contribute local area knowledge to provide a more complete picture of local circumstances, need and current provision. We may also share this information with Scottish Government colleagues, other agencies or grant making bodies if we consider this appropriate. An independent assessment panel will make decisions on projects to be funded. The panel will include representatives from stakeholder organisations, which is expected to include national community sector organisations with knowledge in community development, COSLA, Scottish Government and government agencies. All panel decisions are final. There is no appeal process.

If your application successfully meets the assessment criteria, you may still be asked to provide further information or clarification and/or financial information to support your proposal. Successful projects will then receive an offer of grant detailing the conditions of funding. Further details will be provided if additional information is needed.

Applications to ICF must demonstrate and evidence how they will deliver against all 4 areas for action, which are the aims and objectives of the fund. This includes how the proposal will demonstrate that it will have a positive impact, lasting benefit and offer best value to achieve its stated outcomes. The assessment criteria are set out below together with the weighting for each:

  • tackling poverty and inequality, including child poverty: 2
  • developing and sustaining place based approaches: 1.5
  • community-led regeneration: 1.5
  • ensuring a just transition to net zero: 1

Tackling poverty and inequality, including child poverty

Your application will be assessed on how strongly it evidences how it will have a positive impact within your community to address poverty, inequality and/or rural disadvantage. In particular:

  • how will it support individuals, households and families, including the child poverty priority family groups, out of poverty?
  • how will your proposal support people in a holistic person-centred way to address the multiple and complex challenges associated with poverty and inequality that people can experience?
  • has your proposal been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic? This may be either in the way you work or in the challenges you are responding to. If so, you should also explain this in your application form.

Developing and sustaining place based approaches

Your application will be assessed on how strongly it evidences a place-based and person-centred approach, involving all sections of the local community. For example:

  • how your proposal will contribute towards collaboration and partnership working, both between the members of the local community, and also with and between local statutory bodies and other organisations
  • how your proposal complements and adds value to current local provision
  • how your proposal demonstrates an understanding of the local community, its needs and connection with other services

Community-led regeneration

Your application will be assessed on how effectively it evidences that it will enable all sections of the community to participate in all stages of the development, design and delivery of the project/service. For example:

  • how your proposal will promote active inclusion, this includes how you will ensure the principles of equality, diversity, dignity, fairness and respect are built into processes and project/service delivery
  • how you will ensure that your project/service will reach and be accessible to those most in need and support the engagement of groups or individuals who face barriers to engagement and participation
  • how your proposal will empower individuals and local people in your community including how they have been involved in making decisions regarding the need for the project/service and its design, development and delivery
  • how your proposal builds on the skills and experience within the community

Ensuring a just transition to net zero

Your application will be assessed on how well it considers opportunities that support and contribute towards the statutory targets for The Scottish Government’s Just Transition to Net Zero - A Fairer, Greener Scotland Vision Document which sets out how Scotland will transition to a carbon neutral economy.  For example:

  • how will you engage your community in how they can take action on climate change, as part of a just transition? This could include education and behavioural change, waste reduction or re-use, promoting active travel and/or reducing the carbon footprint
  • how will you deliver your project in an environmentally friendly way? This could include considering energy use in your buildings or those that you use, where services can be delivered online, using local suppliers/seasonal food if running events or delivering services, avoiding single use items like plastic cups



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