Important Message On Coronavirus

Foundation Scotland – We are open

Reassurance on supporting communities, charities and social enterprises following the impact of Coronavirus
Foundation Scotland appreciate that the Coronavirus situation will have a big impact on communities. We know that charities, local organisations and social enterprises will play a critical support role - providing practical and emotional support, helping to mobilise local services, care for those most in need and tackle isolation.
We want to reassure you that we will do what we can to support communities.

We are open as usual – our staff are now are working from home - we are working differently, working digitally. Staff work travel has been suspended so we will hold our meetings online.
All contacts including telephone numbers and email addresses will remain the same. Please just continue to contact our staff through these means. Our IT systems enable us to work from home with no risk to data security and ensure there is limited disruption to services.

Please continue with grant applications – however please scan and email in any supporting documents. Our offices are closed for the time being, and we cannot receive mail – so please do not post any supporting documents. If you don’t have a scanner an option is to download a scanner app onto your smart phone – this uses the camera function to scan the document and convert it into a PDF for e-mail.

We aim to be as helpful as possible over the coming weeks - so our grantees can focus on supporting communities. Alongside continuing to deliver all our community funds and published grant-making programmes, we are taking the following steps:

  1. Relaxing deadlines for monitoring reports
  2. Increasing mentoring and support for grantees and investees
  3. Establishing payment holidays for social enterprises supported with loans
  4. Increasing cash flow support loans to social enterprises
  5. Planning to introduce rolling deadlines for some place-based Funds for those delivering any projects that address immediate community needs in light of the Coronavirus
  6. Working with other funders to pool resources
  7. Working with local community organisations and umbrella groups to gather information about local needs and how best to support these
  8. Establishing a Community Resilience and Recovery Fund
  9. Giving our staff paid time to work flexibly so that they can care for loved ones and also volunteer and support activity in their local community dealing with needs arising from the Coronavirus
  10. Asking you how we can best support your community

Please do get in touch, as normal, if you have questions.


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Spotlight: Biggar Museum Trust

08 January 2020

BMT Exterior

Community Benefit Funding: Increasing energy efficiency, tackling climate change and reducing running costs.

Biggar Museum Trust is an independent charity, which operates the Biggar & Upper Clydesdale Museum in Biggar, South Lanarkshire. The Museum archives, celebrates and promotes local history and culture, and offers gallery and meeting space in addition to showcasing its collections. The Museum is rooted in its community, and supported by over 80 local volunteers to deliver its activities. It received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2018 in recognition of this civic contribution. 

Biggar community groups can access community benefit funds from the Ventient Glenkerie Commmunity Fund. The Fund, provided by Ventient Energy Ltd, is linked to its nearby Glenkerie wind farm in the Scottish Borders. A panel of volunteer residents makes decisions on awards, supported by grant-making charity Foundation Scotland.  

The Museum is in a new building which opened in 2015 and attracts around 8,000 visitors in a year. It is well insulated and the heating and ventilation system is efficient.  However, energy was still the third largest running cost and electricity use was high and increasing, due to the need to light the building all day and in response to higher visitor footfall to the improved Museum attraction. The Museum already used efficient sensor-operated LED lighting within the exhibition areas, and it could not limit energy use any further. Instead, it needed to identify a more cost-effective energy source 

In additionthe external lock-ups at the back of the Museum were required for permanent collection storage because the internal stores were at maximum capacity. To protect stored items against the harmful effects of temperature and humidity fluctuations, and related condensation, the roofs of the stores needed to be insulated.  

A professional Energy Options Appraisal concluded that solar panels on the Museum roof would reduce both financial costs and carbon emissions, and insulation of the stores would reduce costs of operating a de-humidifier.  

The total project cost was around £36,500, and an award of £9,555 from the local Ventient Glenkerie Community Fund enabled the Museum to raise a larger matched grant of £27,013 from Museums Galleries Scotland.  

The solar panel installation took place in July 2018. It is working well, is expected to have a life span of 25 years and to be virtually maintenance free. The solar panels have reduced Museum electricity bills by at least 50% helping to control costs and improve the viability of the museum. In the longer term, the Museum hopes to invest in batteries, enabling the surplus energy to be stored and used on site, which will reduce running costs further.  

The insulation of the external stores has stopped condensation from the roof, providing a better environment for stored items.  

The solar panels were installed by a specialist contractor and the work on the stores was done by a local building contractor, and the project overall enabled a ‘triple win’, promoting social, economic and environmental sustainability. 

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