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A child sits at a laptop. They have bright green earbuds in. More children seated at laptops are visible in the background

Funding available for digital devices to support learning programmes across Scotland

Posted 21.08.23 by Alice Hinds

Community-based organisations can apply for a grant of up to £15,000 to purchase digital devices

Provided by the Scottish Government and managed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), applications are now open for funding to purchase essential digital devices.

Open to all community-based voluntary organisations in Scotland, the Community Learning and Development Device Fund provides capital funding to purchase items such as laptops, cameras, tablets and monitors for use in learning programmes, including staff-delivered group sessions and lending libraries.

Social enterprises, voluntary organisations and registered charities, which have been delivering community learning and development services for at least one year, can apply for up to £15,000 to support every demographic; children and young people, women and girls, and those within economically or socially disadvantaged communities.

Open from 21 August 2023, applications close on 29 September and decisions on funding will be made by 16 October. Successful applicants will then receive grants by 3 November, and any funding must be spent by the end of March 2024.

For more information and to apply, click here to visit the Grantmaking website:

A group of young children play outside on grass with a multi-coloured parachute

Charities set to benefit from £550,000 in outdoor play funding

Posted 21.07.23 by Alice Hinds

Thousands of Scottish children living in deprived areas will soon have access to more community outdoor play spaces, as the Scottish Government announces more than half a million pounds in funding for local charities.

Organisations providing outdoor play initiatives will receive a share of £550,000 to expand their projects throughout the year and during school holidays, benefitting an estimated 14,000 children across the country.

Children’s Minister Natalie Don announced The Outdoor Community Play Fund during a visit to Renfrew YMCA (click here for more), one of the 32 charities that will benefit from the investment.

The Minister said: “Outdoor play has an incredibly positive impact on our children’s mental health, wellbeing and confidence. It can teach them how to solve problems, assess risks, boost their physical activity and provide opportunities to meet and interact with others.

“However, options for children to play safely outdoors can be limited, especially for children in deprived areas. At a time when families are struggling with the cost of living crisis, it is even more essential that we provide this vital support to ensure there are outdoor play options available, free of charge, for families across Scotland.”

Other charities set to receive funding include Glasgow’s Concrete Garden (click here for more), North Edinburgh Arts (click here for more), and Under The Trees (click here for more) in Falkirk.

Inspiring Scotland Director of Funds Julia Abel added: “All children have the right to play – not only is it vital for their mental health and wellbeing, but is also supports children to learn social and emotional skills while boosting their physical activity.

“The beauty of outdoor community play is that it’s child-led, enabling children to use their creativity and imagination to develop their own ways to have fun, overcome barriers, while teaching life-enhancing skills that will make positive effects all the way into adulthood.”

A young person plays guitar in the foreground, while another plays violin in the background

Youth Music Initiative funding confirmed by Scottish Government

Posted 25.05.23 by Alice Hinds

From pipe bands to singing workshops, thousands of young musicians will continue to benefit from Youth Music Initiative (YMI) funding, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson announced that the flagship programme, administered by Creative Scotland, will receive £9.5 million for 2023, including £500,000 to expand the successful model into other art forms.

Aiming to put “music at the heart of children and young people’s lives and learning”, the YMI enables schools and other organisations to provide quality music-making activities, supporting all musical genres, age groups and teaching methods.

First introduced in 2003, the education programme has supported more than 230 projects each year across the country, from African Drumming workshops in Shetland to Children in Scotland’s recent Innovation Labs (click here for more), with 362,000 children and young people taking part in YMI-funded projects during 2021-22 alone.

The funding has also supported 1,182 music education posts across all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

The news comes after parents, teachers and tutors expressed fears over the flagship programme’s future when funding was initially paused last year during The Scottish Government’s emergency budget review.

Announcing the funding award during a visit to Murrayburn Primary School, Edinburgh, where pupils have benefitted from the programme, the Culture Secretary said: “Music plays a vitally important role in young people’s lives, and beyond developing their wider skills and learning we know these kinds of activities also have a huge positive impact on their confidence and wellbeing.

“We are committed to ensuring every school pupil in Scotland can access a year of free music tuition by the time they leave primary school through the YMI, no matter their background. YMI is focused on creating opportunities for groups of children and young people who may not otherwise have the chance to participate in cultural activity.

“This year’s funding takes our investment in this programme to more than £150 million since 2007, to enable free music tuition for hundreds of thousands of young people, and support thousands of music sector jobs across the country.”

For more information, click here to visit the Creative Scotland website.

An outdoor play park, with a green slide, red monkey bars and yellow pillars.

News: Scotland's play spaces to undergo major changes, with new reforms and funding

Posted 28 March, 2023 by Nina Joynson

The Scottish Government has announced new planning reforms and funding to support children and young people’s outdoor play opportunities.

Local authorities will be encouraged to support applications to develop new play spaces, parks and sports facilities under the terms of a new policy.

The policy is included in the fourth iteration of the National Planning Framework, and gives young people more opportunities for play, recreation and sport through planned development and greenspaces.

The government is enacting the changes as a commitment to incorporate children and young people's rights into Scottish law and practice.

Alongside the new planning reforms, regulations will be introduced that require councils to assess current play spaces and consult with local children and communities on their adequacy, so local authorities are better informed when providing future play opportunities.

Tom Arthur, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, said:

“Much clearer and stronger policy together with these new requirements will give more children and young people opportunities to spend time outdoors, supporting their wellbeing and fulfilling the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporate children’s rights into law and practice.

“The Scottish Government is requiring planning authorities across the country to consider play provision when preparing their local development plans.

“By working together through planning policy and practice, we will make Scotland a better place to grow up.”

Funding play parks

The new policy comes as COSLA and the Scottish Government also announce a £50 million investment to refurbish and maintain Scotland's existing play parks.

The 2021 Programme for Government set out £60 million in funding for local authorities to renew public, free-to-access play parks.

£5 million was provided towards this commitment in 2021, and £5 million in 2022.

The additional £50 million will be allocated over the course of this Parliament, with £10 million in 2023/24, £15 million in 2024/25, and £25 million in 2025/26.

Play parks are eligible for the refurbishment funding if they are owned, managed or maintained by local authorities, are designated for play, and free and open to all.

Minister for Children and Young People Clare Haughey said:

“Playing outdoors has huge benefits for children’s physical and mental wellbeing, and play parks ensure children can access high quality safe environments free of charge as families grapple with the cost of living crisis.

“This funding will support local communities to take forward their plans to improve play parks for children in their area.”

Photo of a calculator next to a lined notepad with a pen on it.

News: Undergraduate students will receive greater financial support, starting with Autumn 2023 uplift

Posted 14 March, 2023 by Nina Joynson

The Scottish Government has announced an uplift to both SAAS loan funding for undergraduate students and the bursary that helps care-experienced learners to access higher education, amidst cost-of-living pressures.

From the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year, all undergraduate students will be offered an additional £900 as part of their financial support package.

This means that the maximum package, available for estranged students in higher education and other undergraduate learners on the lowest household income bracket, will increase to £9,000 per year (from £8,100).

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education Jamie Hepburn said:

“This rise in support will help to alleviate the financial pressures facing many students as we grapple with the cost-of-living crisis.

"This is the next step in delivering our commitment to providing a total package of student support equivalent to the living wage."

Supporting students with care experience

The non-repayable Care Experienced Bursary will also increase to £9,000 for eligible students in higher education, with a £900 increase also added to the maximum bursary rate for those in further education.

The bursary is available for students who have experience of being in care, including in settings such as foster or residential care, or under a compulsory supervision order or kinship care arrangement.

The increases will be available to students who already attend further or higher education, as well as new students beginning studies in Autumn 2023.

Louise Hunter, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland, said:

"It’s great to hear news of the £900 increase in financial support available to students in Scotland. I’m sure this will be welcomed by many students who are struggling to balance their education and finances during the cost-of-living crisis.

"Raising the Care Experienced Student Bursary to £9,000 per year responds to the specific challenges this group can face. For many Care Experienced people without family to rely on for support during their studies, they can face greater barriers in realising their lifelong right to education."

Photo of a young man dancing. He is mid-leap with one arm in the air. He is on a roof top with buildings in the background, and there are netted sheets surrounding him.

News: Dance film created by 17-year-old choreographer in response to the climate crisis

Posted on 28 February, 2023 by Nina Joynson

Dance film 'elemental' explores our interaction with the natural elements in a narrative on climate change, choreographed by a young person supported by the Access All Arts Fund

As a response to the climate crisis and a way to encourage boys and young men to pursue dance, young neurodivergent choreographer Ross Hoey created the dance film with filmmaker Lewis Landini. 

elemental shows the character of Human, as they meet and bring harm to the Earth’s elements, before finding out that they have not been completed destroyed. This leads to repercussions for Human as the elements resist.

The film is accompanied by an educational resource for teachers and dance instructors. It includes discussion and movement activities that relate to the performance, and provides information for young people to learn more about the climate crisis. 

Ross' dance film was produced by Overdrive Dance Company, a community-based organisation that was established for male-identifying young people. 

Overdrive works to address the stigma of boys’ participation in dance and overcome the financial barriers that people often encounter across the arts. 

Funding creativity

Ross was a successful applicant to the Access All Arts Fund, a fund managed by Children in Scotland. The film was supported by investment from Creative Scotland as part of its youth arts initiative. 

The project was one of 106 funded in 2021-22. Earlier this month it was announced that the second phase had gone on to support a further 162 young people with their creative pursuits.

The fund was established to help children and young people who experience barriers to accessing creative opportunities to support their wellbeing. The first phase was focused on young people with disabilities or additional support needs. 

On the film’s release, David Mackay, Access All Arts Fund project lead and Policy & Projects Manager at Children in Scotland, said:

“The Access All Arts Fund supported Ross to create this wonderful new film and stretch himself as a choreographer, which is great to see. We know that many young people face barriers to taking part in the creative arts – whether it’s simply for their own enjoyment or to realise ambitious creative projects. 

“We must ensure that we open up arts opportunities for children and young people, because everyone has a story to tell.”   

Click here to watch the film

A computer screen with a coding programme open. In front of that is a laptop, with a woman's hand and arm in shot, pointing at something on its screen

News: Pupils encouraged to learn digital technologies with new funding

Posted 8 February, 2023 by Nina Joynson

Applications are open for a digital fund that supports tech initiatives which enhance the development of young people's digital skills.

Now in its eighth year, the Digital Xtra Fund has opened applications for schools and organisations looking to access funding towards extracurricular digital skills education.

Improving digital skills

Launched in 2016, the fund has so far secured almost £1 million to deliver coding and tech clubs and initiatives across Scotland.

The fund was established to increase the number of young people who study tech-related disciplines and further tech careers by encouraging Scottish pupils to learn digital and computing skills.

In the 2022/23 round, the Digital Xtra Fund is supporting 45 initiatives across 24 local authorities, and projects that more than 7,400 young people will be engaged, including a 50% take-up by girls and young women.

Rebecca Court, Head of Marketing at Incremental Group (one of the fund's industry backers) said:

“The Digital Xtra Fund undertakes such important work across Scotland. The team’s commitment to addressing the alarming digital skills gap while also focusing on increasing diversity and inclusivity in the tech sector, a sector where women continue to be underrepresented, is key to everyone’s future success. 

It is vital the corporate sector and government recognise that when we support grassroots initiatives, especially for young people, it is a win-win for communities, industry, and Scotland as a whole.”

Industry support

The fund receives support from donations, sponsorship and grants, and distributes these funds to eligible organisations that advance the use of digital and computing science education in Scotland.

It is currently in negotiations with several companies to increase the level of funding awarded. The Scottish Government has also pledged to match industry support.

The cost of living crisis and economic downturn has put a strain on charities and organisations that support the Fund, and now Kraig Brown, the Fund's Parternship and Development Manager, has called for new partners to invest, especially those in the corporate sector.

Currently, Baillie Gifford, J.P. Morgan, Accenture, ScotlandIS, Skyscanner, and Incremental Group are on board as industry sponsors, amongst others.

Click here to learn more about applying for the 2023-24 grant

A newborn baby being held by their mother. She is looking down them with the father nearby.

News: Perinatal mental health services receive £1m funding boost

Posted 31 January, 2023 by Nina Joynson

A fund that has supported more 7,000 individuals with perinatal mental health issues has received a new round of investment for 2023-24

The Scottish Government has announced additional funding for the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Fund, to support charities that provide one-to-one and group support and care.

Estimates suggest that up to 20% of mothers and 10% of fathers are affected by poor perinatal mental health, and 10-22% of babies and young children also experience mental health difficulties.

Between April 2023 and March 2024, £1 million will be invested in 34 charities that help new families in the early stages of parenthood.

The PIMH Fund was launched in October 2020 with a £2.5 million investment over two-and-a-half-years. An extension to the existing Fund at the current level was announced by Kevin Stewart, Minister of Mental Wellbeing and Social Care in January 2023.

The Fund is managed by Inspiring Scotland and distributed amongst charities that support parents, carers, infants and families through the provision of counselling, peer support, parenting support and training.

More than 7,000 individuals have been supported by the Fund, through charities including Dads Rock, Starcatchers, MindMosaic and Home-Start branches across Scotland.

Celia Tennant, Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland, said:

“We’re delighted the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund has been extended for another year. This will enable us to work alongside our charity partners to continue offering their essential perinatal services that support families with babies.

“This support is needed now more than ever, and these organisations are a lifeline to parents and families, offering empathetic support with trusted relationships right at the heart of their services.”

Photo of the Isle of Lewis. The sea is in the foreground, with green land beyond it with two white houses, and a hill and the sky behind.

News: Government announces new investments in Gaelic education

Posted 26 October, 2022 by Nina Joynson

The Scottish Government has announced that seven education and community projects will receive funding under the Gaelic Capital Fund for 2022-23.

This year, almost £3 million will be invested in Gaelic education and community projects. The announcement comes as the Government seeks public opinion on Gaelic and Scots as it aims to strengthen support for the language.

The Gaelic Capital Fund is in its fourteenth year, with investments used to support the growth and number of Gaelic projects active throughout Scotland.

The 2022-23 Fund will provide support for:

  • developing Gaelic education on Barra (£1 million)
  • developing Gaelic school units in Tain, Paisley and Skye (£1.4 million)
  • improving facilities at Glasgow Gaelic School (£465,000)
  • delivering a new classroom at Tong Primary School on the Isle of Lewis (£54,000)
  • developing education and community-led projects on Islay (£62,152).

Secretary for Education and Skills Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Gaelic is a vital part of Scotland’s cultural identity and we are determined that it continues to flourish by improving access for people to both learn and use the language at every opportunity possible.

We will further strengthen Gaelic and Scots by increasing the number of people using these languages. To that end, we will introduce a Scottish Languages Bill this parliamentary term."

New legislation

In August, the Scottish Government opened a consultation on the new Gaelic and Scots and the Scottish Languages Bill. The Bill would act as a commitment to the languages and further support for their development in the country.

The consultation is seeking views on the establishment of a new strategic approach to Gaelic medium education, the structure and functions of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the creation of a recognised Gàidhealtachd (a designated Gaelic-speaking area), and the support required to preserve the Scots language.

The consultation is open until 17 November 2022.

Click here to add your views to the consultation

Photo of young child walking away from the camera, with a school bag on their back

News: Grant launched to help families of children at school-starting age

Posted 8 June, 2022 by Nina Joynson

Applications for the Best Start Grant School Age Payment, which will provide families with a £267.75 payment towards care for young children, are now open.

The Scottish Government is urging eligible families to apply for the Best Start Grant School Age Payment, a one-off payment aiming to help families with children of school-starting age.

Families are eligible if they receive Universal Credit, tax credits or certain other benefits, and have a child born between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2018.

Now in its fourth year, the £267.65 payment can be used for anything that is helpful for children in that age range, such as clothes, books or craft materials.

Eligibility is linked to the child's age, rather than when they started primary school. Therefore parents who have deferred their child’s entry to school from August 2022 to 2023, or those who are home schooling, should still apply or they will lose out on the payment.

The payment is one of the government’s five family payments administered by Social Security Scotland:

  • Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment; Early Learning Payment; School Age Payment: helps towards the costs of being pregnant or looking after a child
  • Best Start Food Payment: helps towards buying healthy foods through a prepaid card
  • Scottish Child Payment: helps towards child care through ongoing financial support.

From the end of 2022, the Best Start Grant School Age Payment and the Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment will be automatically paid to families who receive Scottish Child Payment.

Ben Macpherson, Minister for Social Security, said:

“When a child is due to start school it comes with additional costs, and so I would encourage parents and carers to check if you are eligible and, if so, to apply for our Best Start Grant School Age Payment.

“This money can be used for whatever your child needs and is one of the Scottish Government’s five family benefits, which are only available in Scotland.

“We have built our new social security system to make it as straightforward as possible for people to access support. This is why people can apply online, by post or over the phone.

“You can also apply for all five family payments for all the children that you are responsible for, in a single straightforward form – and we put no cap on the number of children who can get these payments. We want every child in Scotland to have the best start in life and our social security system is here to help with that.”

Click here to find out more or apply