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Women’s Fund for Scotland

  • Category: Helping Charities with their Giving

The Women’s Fund for Scotland was first launched in 2002 with money from the Scottish Government. For 10 years, the fund made grants to community-based groups supporting women to build their skills and confidence and to overcome the multiple disadvantages and discriminatory practices that women experience throughout their lives. Throughout that time, the Fund was under the umbrella of Foundation Scotland.

In 2012, the Scottish Government money ran out and the fund underwent a year of review. It was re-launched in 2013, determined to make a real and lasting impact. 

Then, in 2018, after 17 years of growth sitting within Foundation Scotland, the fund took the brave leap to became a registered Scottish Charity. Since then, they have been an independent charitable trust with their own board of Trustees. 

As a small charity, with only one full-time staff member, the Women’s Fund for Scotland saw the advantage of continuing their relationship with Foundation Scotland, and so we continued supporting them to distribute grants to charitable groups and organisations across Scotland.  Shona Blakely is the Executive Director of the Fund, and has worked with us for a number of years:

“Foundation Scotland understands grant making and the not-for-profit sector incredibly well – we benefit from their experience and expertise. By using their grant making infrastructure, we can keep our own costs down, maximising the funding we have available to make grants.  One of the stages of their grant making process is a telephone call with an assessor – we believe this is important for helping smaller groups explain the importance of their work. The team are very professional, friendly and helpful. It is a pleasure to work together.”

Since the fund’s launch in 2002, with a mixture of government money and donations from generous individuals, the Women’s Fund has distributed over £3 million to over 640 groups across Scotland. In fact, the geographical spread of grants is so impressive that if you’re in Scotland, you will never be more than 50 miles away from a project supported by the fund.

One of the groups to have received funding is the Dundee-based award-winning dance company, Shaper Caper. The dance company launched in 2015 and in a short space of time, has built strong partnerships with NHS Tayside and the local primary schools, enabling it to deliver various projects such as ‘Well Good’ and ‘Dance for Parkinsons’.  They have worked with over 59,000 children and young people over the last seven and a half years and have delivered the Well Good project in 116 primary schools in Dundee, Perth & Kinross and Angus, reaching over 7000 children each year on this project alone.  They also deliver the Dance for Parkinsons project for the Dundee and Fife hubs, continuing the project that was developed by Dance Base and Scottish Ballet. 

The grant received from the the Women’s Fund for Scotland supported the charity to deliver a series of employability sessions for 25 women aged 16-30 years.  The project involved a 12-month programme of activities which Shaper Caper co-designed with participants. 

Activities included mentoring sessions with industry professionals, CV/Showreel workshops, trainings on video and music editing, and employability workshops. These activities will help bridge the gap between training and employment and help young women to learn important transferrable skills such as social and civic competences, entrepreneurship, cultural awareness and expression and leadership.