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Crown Estate Scotland Community Capacity Grants Programme

Grant size Up to £50,000
All of Scotland
Key dates  
Expression of Interest Opens: 21/08/23
Expression of Interest Deadline: 25/09/23
Shortlisted applicants invited to full application : 23/10/23
Full Application Deadline : 08/12/23
Funding Decisions: March 2024

About this fund

Crown Estate Scotland invests in property, natural resources and people to generate lasting value for Scotland.  

The fund comprises two grant programmes, an Environment Grants Programme for tenants on the Scottish Crown Estate and the Community Capacity Grants Programme. Foundation Scotland is administering the Community Capacity Grants Programme (see below). More information on the Environment Grants Programme can be found on the Crown Estate Scotland website.

In addition to the notes below, we have also produced a short video about the fund, which includes tips on applying and examples of successful projects funded from the 2020 programme. You can watch the video here (via YouTube).

Purpose of this fund

The purpose of the Community Capacity Grants Programme is to provide early-stage financial support for local projects that will help achieve the following objectives:

  1. Create self-sustaining community enterprises that will promote sustainable development through the provision of local economic, social, and/or environmental benefits.
  2. Contribute to the regeneration of places through improvements to buildings or community spaces that will support self-sustaining community enterprises delivering sustainable development. 

The fund is open to all communities that are:

  • Situated up to 5 miles from coastal and estuarine foreshore in Scotland; or 
  • Situated up to 5 miles from the Scottish Crown Estate’s four rural estates (Glenlivet, Fochabers, Whitehills and Applegirth). 

To view the boundary lines for the estates and applicable radius, please click to view Crown Estate maps with applicable radius.

Awards of between £20,000 to £50,000 for a one-year period will be made through this fund. Crown Estate Scotland currently has £300,000 available for grant distribution.


Additional criteria

The Community Capacity Grants Programme has a keen interest in community wealth building and is committed to funding the following community priorities:

  • Strengthening Local Supply Chains through Innovation: Funding projects that promote and enhance local supply chains, contributing to their resilience and sustainability within the community.
  • Revitalizing Abandoned or Underutilized Buildings/Land: Supporting initiatives that breathe new life into neglected structures or land, maximizing their potential for the benefit of the community and promoting economic development. Additional initiatives to repurpose community spaces and land may help to address rural depopulation levels in Scotland.
  • Regenerating spaces for a climate smart future: Giving priority to projects that utilize land and building resources in a sustainable manner. This may include initiatives related to sustainable agriculture, renewable energy production, or climate conscious construction.
  • Creating Meaningful Employment Opportunities: Focusing on projects that generate meaningful employment for local residents, with an emphasis on sustainable industries. This priority aims to address unemployment challenges that residents face in rural and coastal zones and promote economic empowerment within the community.

By incorporating these priorities, the program aims to address common needs, support innovative projects, and contribute to the overall development and sustainability of the community.

In the spirit of the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieving a Net-Zero Scotland by 2045, all applications are required to demonstrate how net zero considerations will be incorporated into their project.  We anticipate that this will come in different forms depending on the project.  For example, where funding is sought for the development of a feasibility or business plan, the application could include a commitment for the plan to consider the emissions associated with the project and set out practical steps to reduce these e.g. through the development of a green travel plan, a review of the use of renewable energy technologies or incorporating circular economy principles into the plan.

Who can apply?

All applicants must meet Foundation Scotland's Common eligibility criteria, please check this list before starting your application. 

In addition groups and organisations must be based and working to support communities within 5 miles of the coast or estuarine foreshore, or within 5 miles of one of Crown Estate Scotland’s 4 estates; Glenlivet, Fochabers, Whitehills and Applegirth. 

What can be funded

Examples of what the fund is looking to support: 

  • Salary costs of new posts (ensuring that salaries meet the national living wage requirement)
  • Feasibility studies 
  • Business plan development 
  • Legal/consultancy costs 
  • Training/coaching costs  
  • Community consultation 
  • Community plans  
  • Planning permission/building warrants
  • Community engagement activities

What can’t be funded?

The Crown Estate Scotland's Community Capacity Grants Programme cannot support adaptations to buildings or large-scale capital projects or purchase equipment. This fund is designed to provide revenue to support first step investment for local projects.  

Ineligible projects would also include: 

  • Applications where the area of benefit is more than 5 miles from the coastline or Crown Estate managed land.
  • Applications from individuals or private businesses 
  • Applications to advance a campaign or a religious or political cause . 
  • The promotion of religious beliefs 
  • Activities that are understood to be a statutory responsibility and/or seek to replace statutory sources of funding 
  • Pre-existing costs that your organisation already incurred as a result of its day to day activities 

Please read through the What we can't fund page; for additional exclusions which apply to all Foundation Scotland funds.

How are decisions made?

An Awards Panel made up of a Foundation Scotland Trustee, representatives from the community and voluntary sector and from agencies with skills and expertise in sustainable development and regeneration will meet once a year to consider grant awards.

For more details on our assessment processes please visit How funding decisions are made.

How to apply

This fund is now closed and will re-open in August 2024.

Frequently asked questions

  • What will I have to submit alongside my Expression of Interest?

    Applicants will be asked to submit an enquiry form. You will be asked to provide an overview of your project and explain how it will align itself to one of the fund's priorities. You will also be asked to outline your budget and explain how the grant would be spent, Finally, you will need to outline the primary beneficiaries of the project.  

    Additional documents such as governance and financial documents will also be required so that we can check if you would meet the minimum eligibility criteria.

  • What will I have to submit alongside my grant application?

    If you are invited to the next stage of the application process, you will be asked to complete a more comprehensive application form as well as an excel spreadsheet that details a clear breakdown of your project budget. This template will be provided by Foundation Scotland.  

  • Do you fund capital costs?

    No. The programme is for early-stage planning and development costs such as feasibility costs or consultation costs which can be about developing a capital project but cannot be applied for any capital costs. 

  • Can I apply for less than £20,000?

    No, the minimum application amount is £20,000.

  • Do I need to have match funding?

    No, the programme can fully fund applications to 100% however if the cost of the overall project is higher than the maximum grant size you will of course require additional funding and we will look to see if this has been secured or where else you have applied as part of our assessment process. 

  • My application was rejected in 2020/2021. Can I reapply?

    Yes, if your application was eligible, but was unsuccessful, you can reapply in the third year of the programme.

  • Does the fund support salary costs?

    The fund will support new salary posts. 

    Applications towards salaries or wages must show how the position will contribute to measurably achieving fund outcomes, listing the main outputs to be delivered over the grant funding period. Applications towards salaries or wages must also:

    • demonstrate how the salary/wage rate has been arrived at, including how it has been benchmarked with comparable posts
    • provide a job description and person specification for the post, and
    • outline the recruitment process, ensuring this is being run in a fair and open way
    • outline living wage requirements

Contact information

For application process and technical enquiries

Central Systems Support

For criteria and fund priority enquiries

Mercedes Jones, Funds Adviser

Fund news