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COVID-19 support for the third sector

Information and support for third sector organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding for communities and the third sector

The SCVO website is the main hub of information and support for communities and the third sector. It's being updated regularly with new funds from both government and independent sources. 

07 September: Communities Leading in Tourism Communities Leading in Tourism is a personal leadership programme which will bring like-minded individuals together to maximise community-led tourism recovery and opportunities. This online course is open to individuals from community and tourism organisations across Scotland. You must apply through the Social Enterprise Academy.

09 August: New £10 million multi-year fund Scotland Loves Local aims to encourage people to think local first, and support businesses and enterprises in their community. The fund will provide match funding of between £5,000 and £25,000 for projects run by groups like town centre partnerships, chambers of commerce or community and charity trusts. Applications for funding open on 09 August and will close at 17:00 on Friday 01 October. 

Around 100 projects are likely to receive funding this year, with a further call for applications next year. Funding for projects in areas with a higher level of deprivation may be prioritised.

Updated 03 August: Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme is aimed at charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations that are supporting people and communities through lockdown and recovery. As well as providing ongoing crisis support, they will help plan and implement changes to adapt and thrive in a very different social and economic climate.

The programme has two strands: the Adapt and Thrive Programme (currently closed), and the Communities Recovery Fund (now reopened).

11 March: Connecting Scotland is a collaboration between Scottish Government, Local Government and the Third Sector, with SCVO as lead delivery partner, developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides data, training, support and devices, so that the most vulnerable and digitally excluded people can access services and support and connect with friends and family.

Updated 20 January: Kickstart scheme The UK government’s Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit.

Any organisation can apply for funding, no matter what size you are, and there’s no limit on the number of 6 month job placements you can request. However, if you are employing less than 30 Kickstart roles, you need to apply through an intermediary representative. SCVO is able to act as a representative for all third sector organisations and can support you with your application

19 January: The National Lottery Community Fund - Scotland offers a variety of grants ranging from £300 to £150,000 for voluntary, community or public sector organisations.

13 September: Islands Green Recovery Programme - Island communities will benefit from a £2 million programme of locally led green projects designed to help support their economic recovery from COVID-19. The programme is split into four strands and managed by four partners, delivering investment in low carbon transport, food sustainability and zero waste projects. Part of the funding will be used to help independent food retailers and businesses introduce packaging-free shops and remove the need for disposable packaging. Sustainable travel initiatives, climate change projects and projects to improve local supply chains can also apply for funding. The £2 million is shared between:

  • Zero Waste Scotland fund - £300,000 to introduce packaging free shops
  • Energy Saving Trust fund - £300,000 to support carbon neutral initiative
  • Inspiring Scotland fund - £900,000 to support community recovery project
  • HIE fund - £500,000 to support green economic recovery

Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development Funding of between £1,000 and £50,000 is available to both groups and individuals. The overall budget is £7.5 million and is open year-round with no application deadline. Read the eligibility criteria and apply on Creative Scotland’s website. 

The SCVO website is also being kept up to date with a list of Coronavirus specific funds from independent funders, keep an eye on the list




Plunkett Foundation

A dedicated programme of support has been launched by the Plunkett Foundation to help rural community businesses across the UK as they battle the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus lockdown.

Thanks to funding from the Co-op, Plunkett will offer a dedicated package of free Covid-19 support for open and trading community businesses, as well as those developing groups that have been affected by the pandemic.

The new scheme will focus on getting one-to-one support to groups that need it the most. This will include free practical support from Plunkett’s national network of specialist community businesses advisers. All forms of community business – including woodlands, farms, bakeries, pubs and shops – will be able to get support, advice and guidance on a range of issues such as;

  • developing short – medium term cash flow,
  • reviewing business plans,
  • applying for funding,
  • upholding good practice governance,
  • utilising community shares and accessing government support.

Get support here

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COVID-19 third sector information, support and guidance

Helping you face the challenges brought about by COVID-19


Read COVID-19 advice from the Employee Ownership Association - including access to their webinars and FAQs from members of the employee-owned community. Visit the EOA website


COVID-19 is impacting everyone and Scotland’s voluntary sector has never been more needed. We don’t know what the long-term impacts will be but we do know how important it is to record what’s going on now so we can build on everything we’ve learnt to support our futures.

SCVO is part of the UK-wide #NeverMoreNeeded campaign aiming to remind government, funders, donors and the general public of how essential the voluntary sector is – you can join in too! Visit the SCVO website to find out how.

COVID-19 restrictions - a guide for voluntary organisations

SCVO has a wealth of information on how voluntary organisations can comply with guidelines and safely support staff, users and volunteers. Visit the SCVO support hub

Events and training 

SCVO has a really useful events and training section that's regularly updated. Explore what's coming up


DigiShift by the SCVO started off as large zoom calls in collaboration with Third Sector Labs. It began as a space for everyone to share challenges and solutions of moving quickly to digital service delivery. They have become a collaborative networking space where we work together with experts to formulate best practice. 

There's a host of resources, watchback webinars and podcasts on the SCVO DigiShift hub



Communities across the region are benefiting from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund and bringing vital resources to their residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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