New funding for community groups – SCVO Adapt & Thrive Programme

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From SCVO Website (

Adapt and Thrive is part of the £25m Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government on 2nd September 2020. Information on the Communities Recovery Fund strand. The programme forms part of the wider Scottish Government Third Sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Adapt and Thrive Programme aims to support organisations across the third sector to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and build back better to thrive in the future. It provides the opportunity, space, and support so organisations can reflect on their current services and determine which areas need to change, flex, innovate, or grow in order to be resilient and successful during and post COVID-19.

The programme will run until March 20201 and is delivered in partnership by Firstport, Corra Foundation, SCVO, Just Enterprise, Community Enterprise and Social Investment Scotland.

Recovery for the third sector has not been straightforward, and lockdowns, changes to guidelines and the tier system will continue to be part of our daily lives in 2021.  As a response, Adapt and Thrive has adapted and from 11January, all eligible organisations can access funding regardless of turnover size and the top value of grants has increased to £75K.

Adapt and Thrive offers tailored, specialist advice, as well as grants and loans. The advice is designed to help organisations to build recovery plans that are flexible, allowing them to stay open, respond or adapt quickly to any changes in guidelines or tiers. The funding is unrestricted so it can also adapt around the needs of the organisation.

Costs that the funding can cover

The funding aims to be flexible so it supports your recovery plan and it will be awarded on an unrestricted basis. However, in the application you will be expected to break down what you plan to spend the funds on. These should directly relate to your recovery plan. 

Some examples of the types of costs we expect to fund include:

  • Costs associated with adapting premises for re-opening. For example, PPE, perspex, glass, etc.
  • Staff salaries. You may need to bring back staff who have been furloughed so they can support the implementation of your plan. For example, the person that develops your fundraising activities. You need to tell us for how long the funding is likely to cover these costs, i.e. if your plan shows that after eight months your income is likely to return to pre-COVID levels by implementing new fundraising activities, we would expect the salary costs to cover the eight-month period.
  • Consultancy or short-term contracted staff.  You may need to bring in a consultant if you don’t have the skills/expertise in house. For example, you may need to hire an HR specialist to help with staff contracts if working practices have changed. Again, we want to know how long you are likely to need these services for. 
  • Contributions towards capital expenditure. In order to operate safely, your premises may need significant adaptations. While the programme may not be able to support extensive capital projects, you can apply for a contribution towards these costs.  For example you may need to make adjustments to toilets or washing facilities, or purchasing digital equipment (if there is a shift to online delivery). 
  • Stock or materials required to support the implementation of your plan. For example, you may need marketing materials such as customer signage.
  • Changes to services. In some instances, we may consider funding costs that relate to changes to the services you deliver, but only if the changes directly support your recovery plan.
  • Essential overheads and other fixed costs. If your organisation has been forced to close as an essential part of responding to national lockdown or tier level change, you can ask for these costs as part of your overall funding ask. Please note that resilience costs can, at most, cover the period from date of application until 31 March 2021 and cannot be the sole funding ask.

Funding will be unrestricted to support the delivery of your plan and enable your organisation to adapt and divert the funding to what your organisation needs if your circumstances change (for example, a local lockdown).

Costs that can’t be supported

  • Lost income from activities that were planned prior to the pandemic. For example, a fundraising event you had to cancel or a contract that has been postponed.
  • Staff costs associated with service/project delivery
  • Any retrospective costs
  • Any historical debt
  • Activities and goods related to current delivery of services or emergency support
  • Activities that do not align to the Government’s tier system

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