Investing in the future: Commission announces 10 million funding programme for voluntary and community sector


15 May 2009

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced a new GB-wide £10.2 million Strategic Funding Programme, providing three-year project-based funding for community and voluntary sector organisations of up to £450,000.

The Commission is particularly keen to fund activity that directly serves and involves individuals and local communities, that meets an unmet need, and that has the potential to inspire and inform longer-term activity that helps promote the Commission’s objectives. 


There are three key priority areas:


  • A first priority area will fund organizations providing guidance, advice and advocacy services in areas including education, health and employment, as well building capacity where there are gaps in local provision, for example for women who have experienced violence. 
  • A second priority area will support increased co-operation between groups -- including ethnic or religious communities -- in areas where there are known tensions.
  • A third priority area is support for legal advice and awareness of legal rights.  This will operate as a separate Programme which is expected to launch in June

Last year, 27 pan-Scottish projects, from communities across all the Commission’s mandates, benefitted from the grants programme, from inclusive living, LGBT and women's aid projects to innovative work on supporting emerging leadership in the areas of disability and race, coming from all geographical areas of Scotland, from Inverclyde and Inverness to Dundee and Stornoway.  

For this year’s grants programme, two application-focused funding surgeries, providing information, advice and guidance to those voluntary and community organizations who wish to apply or funding will be held, in Glasgow and Dundee, on the 28th May and 1st June, respectively.  The application process employs a new and simplified two stage procedure to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy and ensure that applications that don’t meet the Commission’s criteria are identified at an early stage.  Improved monitoring will ensure value for money throughout the lifetime of each funded project.

Scotland Commissioner Morag Alexander, said:
“In tough economic times, people who are on the sharp end of discrimination and inequality are more in need of support than ever.  Community organisations that give people skills, support and access to opportunity play a vital role in keeping communities together, building the strong, prosperous and inclusive Britain we all want to see.  Through supporting this vital grass roots work, which is often under-funded and under-appreciated, the Commission will make a daily, tangible, and invaluable impression on the lives of thousands of individuals.”


More information about funding criteria and application forms to download




Notes for Editors:


Strategic funding closing dates:

  • The closing date for stage one applications is Friday 12 June 2009. The stage one results will be announced at the end of July, with stage two application forms also sent out at this time. 
  • The deadline for stage two applications is mid-September 2009, with the successful applicants announced from mid-October 2009. All funded projects will be expected to commence by January 2010.


The Scottish Grants surgeries are as follows:


GLASGOW: Thursday 28th May, City Halls, Glasgow
10:30am - 2:30pm

DUNDEE: Monday 1st June, Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee
10.30am – 2.30pm

The Commission:
1. The Commission’s five strategic priorities which inform the funding priority areas are: 1. Securing and implementing an effective legislative and regulatory framework for equality and human rights; 2. Ensuring a fairer Britain for all –  reducing the gap in outcomes to secure fair life chances, access to services and dignified treatment;  3. Building a society without prejudice: promoting good relations and fostering a vibrant equality and human rights culture; 4. Promoting wider understanding and awareness of rights – delivering timely and accurate advice and guidance to individuals, advisors and employers alike; 5. Building an authoritative and responsive organisation

2. The Equality and Human Right Commission is empowered to award funding by virtue of Section17 of the Equality Act 2006.   

3. This new GB-wide grants programme builds on the Commission’s interim grants programme, which awarded a total of £10.9 million to 285 organisations in 2008-09, and is at the core of a three year strategy setting out the Commission’s vision of a Britain built on principles of fairness, equality and respect. 

4. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.

5. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.

6. The Equality and Human Rights Commission will enforce equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourage compliance with the Human Rights Act. It will also give advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.

For more information contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission on 0141 228 5938.
To book a place on one of the surgeries, please contact : Douglas Guest or Fiona McLeod on 0141 228 5910 or email:


Last Updated: 01 Jul 2009