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Seven projects receive new 'Tackling Inequalities' funding

  • Date published: 11/10/23

Seven projects from across Scotland have been awarded a total of £500,000 to address and reduce the causes of inequality. The awards come from a new Foundation Scotland fund called ‘Tackling Inequalities'.

This is the first ‘thematic’ fund that Foundation Scotland has delivered.

The aim of the Tackling Inequalities fund is to provide organisations with the financial support to develop, test, implement or scale up activity that contributes to tackling and reducing inequalities either in their local areas or through their project more widely. Funding will help groups go beyond dealing with the symptoms of inequality and contribute to reducing it at its root causes.  Giving agency to communities themselves to work in this ‘upstream’ way can help build an evidence base for what works and begin to challenge traditional systems. 

Helen Wray, Head of Philanthropy at Foundation Scotland has been working on the project since the idea first took form:

We wanted to develop a new fund to test local, community-led approaches to preventative, or ‘upstream’ solutions that tackle some of the barriers to equality. Alongside responding to immediate and vital demands, Foundation Scotland is increasingly adopting a developmental approach, allocating funding to groups working differently to create a fairer and more just Scotland. We’ll be learning from the funded projects about their own approaches and what works well, which will help inform our own thinking in the future.

One of the projects to receive funding is Positive Changes, a social enterprise in Stirling that supports women who have touched the Scottish criminal justice system to make positive changes in their lives.  Positive Changes supports women in training and work experience through the making and selling of chocolates branded as ‘Grace Chocolates, Changing Lives’. 

Positive Changes has been operating in Stirling for over 6 years, supporting women who have touched the Scottish criminal justice system to gain qualifications, as well as workplace and life skills.  It’s not just what they do but the way they do things, that helps the women grow in confidence and self-esteem as they journey towards fulfilling their potential.  The organisation uses the vehicle of chocolate making to engage with the women while 100% of their profits are reinvested to deliver online mentoring and health & wellbeing programmes in addition to work placements and in person programmes. 

Many women who have touched the justice system face homelessness yet research shows having a home helps break the cycle of reoffending.  Positive Changes will  use the £70,000 funding to explore creative and innovative options of housing that best meets the needs of the women they support.  By providing phased levels of support the women can build skills for living, leading to their own tenancy and becoming valuable contributors to their communities. 
Joyce Murray, Founding Director and CEO of Positive Changes said:

Women who have touched the justice system often face huge barriers when trying to access suitable housing.  There are some housing options available but none tailored to meet the specific needs of women with convictions. We know it is going to take something different and we are grateful for the support of Foundation Scotland and Wellbeing Alliance Scotland to allow us to find that.

The three-year funding programme is being delivered in partnership with the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland, an organisation that envisions an economic system that has wellbeing at its heart, and ensures everyone can experience fairness and connection, and participate in the decisions that affect them.

All seven projects will participate in a learning journey together to provide local, first-hand evidence on what helps and what hinders a society based on greater equality.