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flowers that a real and handmade
flowers that a real and handmade

Moorfoot Micro-grants knits community together - or should that be crochet?

Moorfoot Community Council's 'micro-grants' programme shows how small amounts of money can galvanise grassroots community activity which is so vital to community spirit.

Foundation Scotland manages and administers a large number of community benefit funds emerging from renewable energy projects, working in partnership with local communities to do so.  In many of these community benefit fund arrangements, Foundation Scotland has helped community councils (or similar representative local bodies) to set up and run 'micro-grants' schemes.

Through such schemes, community councils or similar bodies are provided with an agreed sum of money from the community benefit fund, which they can then award as small grants (typically in the region of £250-£300) to groups and individuals for smaller-scale community activities that are both charitable and beneficial to community life.  Micro-grants schemes are typically open to applications throughout the year, to groups (including informal groups or more formal groups with a constitution) and individuals, meaning that small grants can be provided quickly and simply.  

Moorfoot Community Council has been running a micro-grants scheme for many years, receiving money from the Greencoat Carcant Wind Farm Community Fund to do so.  The Carcant Wind Farm Fund for Moorfoot is relatively small, and no more than 10% of each year's community benefit funds are allowed for micro-grants, so Moorfoot Community Council carefully manages just a few hundred pounds each year to help as much grassroots community activity as possible.  

One such example began in 2021 when two north Middleton residents wanted to help cheer up local children after their daily lives and activities had been so badly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions that had been in place at various points.  The two residents invited local crafters to help create 100 crocheted chicks filled with chocolate eggs as gifts for all the children in the village.  The project was so well received that later in the year they carried out a similar activity for World Bee Day; producing small gift bags with crocheted bees, bee-friendly seeds and a bee fact sheet.  

flower and hadnmade flowers and a bee guide

The eagerness of residents to participate led the organisers to trial a weekly craft group. With a microgrant of £50, the group booked the village hall and organised a craft night, at which they planted sunflower seeds and crocheted butterflies to gift to local children. This was the first of the now-weekly Middleton Crafters.  The group is now self-sufficient and manages to raise funds for local causes through sale of their crafts. The group also runs a Friday afternoon tuckshop.  There are 14 regular attendees, and the group organised its first Christmas Fair at the end of 2021.

“Many thanks for the micro grant which kick started us and has enabled us to grow. Not only do we fundraise but the benefits to health and well-being of many of us who go to crafters is far greater than any of us could have expected.” Lynne Morris, Microgrant recipient

This example shows how small amounts of money can have a surprisingly large impact on community life, encouraging new ideas, boosting activity and contributing hugely to residents' well-being and social connections within the community.