Tweeddale Neighbourhood Support Fund guidance notes

Make sure you read these guidance notes carefully before completing an application.

What is the Tweeddale Neighbourhood Support Fund?

Our Neighbourhood Support Fund provides support and offers assistance with the development of community based projects for voluntary and community groups that are active within their communities.

The scheme is divided up between each of the five Area Partnerships (Berwickshire, Cheviot, Eildon, Teviot and Liddesdale, and Tweeddale). The amounts provided are subject to periodic review by ourselves. Each Area Partnership may operate a different assessment process.

The Tweeddale Neighbourhood Support Fund is operated in line with the principles of best practice and our Code of Practice for following the Public Pound.

These guidance notes explain who can apply and what grants can be used for. There is an explanation of the assessment and interview process which will be used to recommend which applications should be approved. Some pointers are given to assist you in planning your project and this is followed by a section taking you through the application form, with guidance to help you answer each question. Finally there is a list of the documents you must submit with your application.

Support

For advice on other funding opportunities, contact:

  • Grants Administrator:
    • email: communitygrants@scotborders.gov.uk
    • phone: 0300 100 1800

Applications for funding

To be able to apply for funding you need to meet the following conditions:

  • you must be a voluntary or community group that is based in Tweeddale, or a non-Tweeddale-based voluntary or community group which can demonstrate direct benefits for the Tweeddale community
  • if your group is not formally constituted, you need a constituted umbrella organisation to join with you as banker
  • you should be committed to equality of opportunity for all

Alongside your application you should also provide copies of all supporting documents.

Applications are welcome from groups working in partnership but one group must be identified as the lead applicant.

We recommend that you should check other possible funding sources before applying and this is a requirement in any case for applications over £5k. It will help if applicants can demonstrate that they have matched funding in place or can at least demonstrate that they have attempted to secure funding from elsewhere.

Applications need to be submitted well in advance of project start dates as no retrospective funding is given.

Applications need to be submitted four weeks prior to Tweeddale Area Partnership meeting

See our guidance for completing an application for more information.

Who cannot apply?

  • individuals
  • groups that wish to pass the funding on to individuals
  • organisations involved in party political activities
  • companies which aim to make a profit for distribution to individuals/shareholders
  • statutory bodies which are not Community Councils

How much can the grant be and what can it be used for?

  • all groups can apply for up to £5k
  • constituted groups may apply for an additional £2.5k making a total of £7.5k if they can evidence that they have sought additional funding elsewhere
  • unconstituted groups can apply up to £5k
  • at least 10% of the overall cost of the project must be met by the applicant group or from users of the services provided by the project

Two applications are permitted per annum from any one group provided that they are for different projects. The first project must be fully evaluated before a second application can be submitted. If you have previously received funding from us, an evaluation form must be submitted before an application can be made to the Neighbourhood Support Fund.

Funding can be used for a variety of purposes including:

  • the purchase of equipment
  • small capital works
  • hire and running costs
  • maintenance costs
  • capacity building projects
  • feasibility studies
  • pilot schemes

Funding may also be used for local participatory budgeting (our Community Choices).

Funding cannot pay for:

  • ordering or spending which has taken place prior to application approval
  • alterations and improvements to licensed serving areas
  • trips abroad
  • maintenance of private roadways
  • used vehicles
  • planning applications
  • hospitality: food and drink.

The project you are seeking funding must be one which would make a real difference within the community. The impact it makes needs to be measurable in terms of both the number of community members benefiting and the scale of that benefit, and you need to estimate these on the application form. Outcomes that we would look for groups/organisations to achieve are:

  • communities have more access to better quality local services or activities (including arts, music, heritage, wellness or sports activities)
  • communities have more access to a better-quality environment (including the built environment)
  • communities have more pride in their community
  • communities have more access to better quality advice and information
  • building community capacity and fostering the sustainability of local initiatives
  • increasing community involvement in local regeneration and development
  • supporting the acquisition, development and use of community assets
  • supporting skill development and not for profit initiatives that will help lead to job creation and a diverse local economy
  • fostering social networks and increasing community engagement with local organisations, activities and initiatives
  • overcoming the barriers that can prevent disadvantaged or excluded members of the community from enjoying a high quality of life, particularly young people and older people
  • involving local people in the sensitive and sustainable stewardship of the natural environment

How will projects be assessed?

Funding applications will follow a two stage process. Firstly, they will be assessed against the basic eligibility criteria and the completeness of the information provided on the application form. A check will be made that copies of all relevant supporting documents have been submitted.

If the application meets these criteria it will enter stage two and be passed forward to the Tweeddale Neighbourhood Support Fund Assessment Panel for full assessment. You may be asked to attend a meeting of the Assessment Panel, either in person or virtually, to elaborate on the information you have provided. The dates of these meetings are determined well in advance and will be notified to you at the time when receipt of your application is acknowledged. The Panel will be looking for projects which will make a real difference and represent good value for money.  

If your project is not recommended for approval, the Communities and Partnerships Team may be able to offer you some guidance on other sources of funding.

Canvassing of members of the Tweeddale Neighbourhood Support Fund Assessment Panel is not permitted.

All the application forms assessed by the panel will be included in the papers for the next Tweeddale Area Partnership meeting, together with the panel’s recommendations on which applications should be approved.  

What happens if a grant is awarded?

If you have been successful, you will receive an award letter in duplicate specifying the terms and conditions. You must sign and return one full copy to us within three weeks. Funding will not be paid until we have received a signed award letter. Following receipt of the signed award letter and acceptance of the terms and conditions, grants will be paid either directly into your bank or building society account or paid out by cheque. If you are successful it can take up to one month for us to process your payment.

Funding can only be used for the purpose defined in the application. Projects receiving funding must commence within 12 months from the date of acceptance of the funding. 

Upon completion of your project and 12 months from receipt of the grant, whichever comes first, you will be required to complete an evaluation report and submit receipts to evidence that the amount given has been used for the purpose intended. The conditions of any offer of funding, along with the project outcomes, will be monitored by the Tweeddale Neighbourhood Support Fund Assessment Panel through your evaluation report.

Any amount not used must be repaid in full. 

Failure to comply with any conditions attached to funding may result in the funding being repaid to us and affect future funding awards.

Project planning

Before filling in your application form, you will need to plan your project. The steps you actually take will depend on the nature and size of the project, and what you are hoping to achieve by it. Here are some suggestions:

  • speak to people your project is aimed at, gather community views and responses
  • speak to groups/organisations/services connected to your project theme to see if they can enhance your project or work with you
  • determine what will and won’t work in your area
  • consider what additional evidence you can obtain to demonstrate the need for your project
  • plan the activities you intend to deliver and how, estimate what difference they will make in your area and consider how you will measure the impact the project makes, eg numbers of people involved and feedback from those involved
  • define what resources/people/venues etc are needed to make your project work and prepare the outline of a project implementation plan with timescales for the various steps, identifying who will be responsible for the different elements of the project
  • if your project involves a building, lease of land or a public space, make sure you have permissions/agreement from the relevant body
  • if your project involves any form of construction, make sure you have heritable ownership of the land or building, or hold a lease that cannot be brought to an end by the landlord for at least five years
  • check other sources of funding and try where possible to secure some level of funding which will reduce the grant you need from the Community Fund
  • make sure you will be able to obtain copies of the documents which must accompany your application
  • investigate whether you can get insurance if necessary

We have made a commitment towards becoming more sustainable and reducing emissions over a number of years. When submitting an application, we would like you to consider going plastic free where possible within your project. If you would like more information on going plastic free, Zero Waste Scotland have lost of information on:

Completing your application form

The purpose of the application form is to give you the opportunity to explain your project and what it will achieve, and to demonstrate your group’s ability to carry it through successfully.  

What supporting documents do I need to submit?

You will not be able to complete the online application form without submitting all supporting documentation.

Constituted groups

If you are a constituted group, you will need to provide:

  • constitution (signed and dated by group members/trustees)
  • bank statement (dated within the last three months)
  • annual accounts (independently examined and no older than 15 months)
  • equal opportunities policy/equalities statement
  • one quote/estimate for each item of expenditure under £1.5k
  • three quotes/estimates for each item of expenditure over £1.5k
  • written permission from landowner/landlord if applicable

Unconstituted groups

If you are an unconstituted group, you will need to contact a constituted group to support your application and to provide the relevant supporting documentation detailed in the list above.

What is the timescale for funding?

All applications intended for approval at a particular Area Partnership meeting must be received, with all the required supporting documents, at least four weeks prior to the meeting. Any applications received after that date will automatically go forward to the assessment process for the following Area Partnership meeting.

  • Tweeddale Area Partnership Meeting dates: 13 June 2023
  • Application closing date: 16 May 2023

There will be four further Area Partnership meetings in 2023/24, dates and deadlines to be confirmed.