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New Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund Announced

On Friday 15th October 2021 the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart MSP, announced that the launch of the new Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund which has been established with £15 million allocated to support mental health and wellbeing in communities across Scotland.

This new fund will be delivered and managed by Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) in partnership with local integrated health authorities and other partners including Community Planning Partnerships and local authority mental health leads.

The fund aims to support adult community-based initiatives to help address the impact of distress and mental ill health caused by social isolation and loneliness, as well as addressing the mental health inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grass roots community groups and third sector organisations will be able to benefit from the funds to deliver activities and programmes to people to reconnect and revitalise communities building on examples of good practice which have emerged throughout the pandemic.

The TSI Scotland Network is delighted to be leading on this new fund. With our reach into local communities across Scotland, TSIs will be able to effectively deliver this funding direct to community-based initiatives that promote and develop good mental health and wellbeing, as well as mitigate the impact of the rising demand for mental health support.

More information about this fund will be made available shortly, with TSIs publishing details of eligibility criteria and the application process on their own respective channels. Prospective applicants are advised that applications will be made via their local TSI.

To find your local TSI, please visit our directory.

Read the full announcement from Scottish Government here.

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Report Highlights Positive Response to New Funding Model Involving TSIs

A new report, published today, Monday 11th October, highlights the positive response received in an evaluation of the Response, Recovery & Resilience (RRR) Funding Scheme, which was distributed locally by Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) across Scotland.

The Foundation Scotland funding offered additional financial support to community groups, charities and third sector organisations (TSOs), to enable them to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on their services and to help facilitate their work in supporting communities during challenging times.

Working in partnership with the TSI Scotland Network, Foundation Scotland piloted a new means of grant distribution for this fund, in the hopes of reaching local organisations who were on the frontline of the community response to the pandemic. In this first of its kind funding scheme, TSIs were a direct facilitator for the funding, providing grants through a mix of open and closed funding processes.

Leveraging both local knowledge and reach into communities, 30 participating TSIs made a total of 267 awards to TSOs across the whole of Scotland with a total award value of £292,000.

Highlighted in the report is positive feedback from both TSIs and grant recipients.

TSIs reported that the speed of response and ability to reach into local communities were the main benefits of this new approach. TSIs also felt that smaller organisations had more confidence to apply via a local process and that they were able to identify relevant organisations due to their deep local knowledge.

The report also highlights how the fund supported mainly smaller organisations, with majority having an annual turnover of less than £25k and the secondary group being organisations with turnover between £25-100k.

Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO), alongside Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) and Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC), were the three TSIs who took on a leading role on various elements of distribution and supported the wider network during the process.

Maggie Hepburn, Chief Executive of ACVO, said that “the positive findings of this report show that the way TSIs work at a local level alongside communities is beneficial in reaching smaller third sector organisations and communities who may otherwise be distanced from funding processes, or less likely to engage.”

Grant recipients had equally favourable feedback for this new funding distribution mode. Overall grantees showed a high level of satisfaction from the experience of securing the grant via a TSI with 80% agreeing that this opportunity saved them time, 95% stating that the TSI was approachable and listened to their needs and concerns, and 98% saying that the application process was easy and proportionate.

Furthermore, 30% of grantees said they would not have been able to provide services has it not been for this grant.

Reflecting on the new funding process Helen Wray, Head of Programmes at Foundation Scotland, said “When the TSI Scotland Network approached us for support during the pandemic, we were delighted we could help. Offering the Network a strategic grant from our Response, Recovery & Resilience Fund enabled local TSIs to respond swiftly to their local areas’ most immediate needs. Small local organisations needed help fast, but many lacked the time, resources, or experience for completing grant applications. Working in hand with their local TSIs, organisations could easily access financial support vital to their services, often needing just a few hundred pounds.

 Through local awards and strategic grants, Foundation Scotland supported over 1400 charitable organisations right across Scotland through the Response, Recovery & Resilience Fund. The total distributed exceeded £7.3 million but, more importantly, reached over 2 million people in need. Thanks to our strategic partners like TSI Network Scotland, BEMIS, and SAMH, we were able to reach the hearts of so many different communities in need.”

Coinciding with the publication of this report is a week-long social media campaign highlighting key findings and success stories from grant recipients sharing their own experiences of community response and how this new funding enabled them to continue their services.

You can follow the campaign via the TSI Scotland Network twitter account @TSIScotNet.

For further information about the new report, please email info@tsi.scot.

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New Report Published Highlighting the Work of TSIs Throughout Covid-19

A new report published today, highlights the key findings and recommendations of following a review of Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) and the roles they played during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The aim of the review was to better understand the role of Third Sector Interfaces during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been funded by Scottish Government and prepared in partnership between Third Sector Interfaces and Evaluation Support Scotland. The review included a desk review, case studies of six TSI areas, and independent interviews with local partners.
The review identified the types of activities undertaken by TSIs during Covid-19, the effectiveness of different approaches, and lessons for the future of TSIs. The findings of the review are now available within the report.

Based on the findings, the report highlights 5 critical recommendations:

  1. Celebrate the role of the third sector and volunteers during Covid-19
  2. Build awareness locally and nationally of the role and impact of TSI’s
  3. Invest in the capacity and reach of the third sector in local decision-making
  4. Build on the opportunities that have come out of Covid-19
  5. Review funding for TSIs

An Executive Summary is available on page 3 of the report.

Follow our campaign to promote these findings on Twitter: @TSIScotNet

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TSI Scotland Network supports Nottingham Trent University’s Covid-19 Impact Study.

TSI Scotland Network helps capture more information around COVID-19 impacts for Nottingham Trent University.

Third round open now until 22nd March – https://rebrand.ly/zec4bvc

Nottingham Trent University are currently conducting the largest UK study exploring the impact of Covid-19 on the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector. The latest round to the survey is now open until 22nd March. The more organisations that complete this the more impact it has. The barometer dashboard so far can be found here https://rebrand.ly/72gg7ia

It is quick, easy and only takes a few minutes to complete. Each round the survey has a set of general questions, with some focussing on a theme (for example, this month we’ll be looking at the ways organisations may interact with local authorities). As a small thank you to everyone who takes part, each month there is the option to enter a draw to win £200, and a £2000 prize draw at the end of the project  http://humanesmarts.org/feast-in-the-field-the-veggie-fest/thefeastinthefield2-06221/ (see here for more info).

Should you have more time to share, we would love to hear more about your organisation and experiences. You can get in touch with the NTU research team at CPWOP@ntu.ac.uk or visit the project page to discover more – we look forward to hearing from you.

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New Survey with Nottingham Trent University on state of Third Sector now

Last year the TSI Scotland Network carried out an extensive survey to gather information which helped shaped our responses to Scottish Government and support the sector.

We are now inviting local organisations to again take part in a survey in conjunction with Nottingham Trent University and supported by ACOSVO. The survey will take about 5 minutes and you will be entered into a Prize Draw.  

Please go to the link Bānswāda here to complete.

Many thanks for your support and input.

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New Appointment: Chief Executive EVOC

Bridie Ashrowan has been announced as the new Chief Executive of EVOC, stepping into the role at the end of March 2021, when Ella Simpson retires after leading the organisation for more than twelve years.

Bridie has over thirty years’ experience in the community sector, having worked in start-ups, social enterprise and business, including her most recent position as Chief Executive at Space & Broomhouse Hub. In fact, she successfully headed the £3.2 million capital investment programme to open the Hub – a local community development trust in an area that has some of the highest child and in-work poverty in Scotland – towards the end of 2019.

Bridie commented:
‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead EVOC and to take up the reins from Ella Simpson. Across the communities of Edinburgh, there will be many who will face hugely challenging circumstances. I look forward to working with partners, this talented team and the folk of Edinburgh in building a future together that we can be proud of.’

Ella Simpson (Current Chief Executive) said:
‘I’ve had the most amazing time working for EVOC. It has been an absolute privilege to work with such an incredible team and dedicated Board. It’s in our DNA to work WITH people, partners and all our stakeholders and I know that Bridie will build on that strong heritage. It would always have been bitter sweet to leave EVOC and this has been a particularly difficult year for everyone. However, I know the strength and courage of EVOC and our sector and I’m convinced that with Bridie’s leadership and the dedication of the EVOC team, peoples’ voices and the sectors’ value will be heard and understood.’

Read the full announcement here.

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New Appointment: Chief Executive Officer BAVS

Juliana Amaral has taken over at the helm of Bavs as the 5th CEO ahead of Bavs 50th anniversary next year, signalling a new era at the organisation. Juliana is well known in the community for her various roles in promoting social justice, promoting a sustainable environment and building community capacity. She lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed but has spent most of her working life in Berwickshire and Borders area. Passionate about the sea, Juliana is often found walking her dog on the beach. She enjoys meeting new people, a wide range of music and good food.

“I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of CEO at Bavs. I have always had a great admiration for the organisation and the amazing team behind all the good work that happens in Berwickshire. I am committed to continuing the fantastic work the dedicated team of staff and volunteers have delivered so far. I look forward to helping shape the next stage of the organisation and to continue to ensure that community capacity, development and support to local groups and organisations are at the heart of what we do. We are going through challenging times, facing a lot of hardship that COVID19 posed on us all. However, the community response to the crisis highlighted how resilient communities are and their capacity to respond to needs if the right support and resources are available. I am very proud of the work that happened in Berwickshire during the pandemic and will strive work closely with third sector organisations and community groups moving forward, building a stronger recovery plan with and for our sector”

Juliana Amaral
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Manifesto for Change – TSI Scotland Network

During Summer 2020, the TSI Scotland Network leaders took learning from the TSI Survey and their own experiences, to develop the first  buy modafinil online from uk Manifesto for Change.

Download: Manifesto for Change

This document has now been sent to all political parties and we hope will influence decisions and policies to shift investment and resources to grass roots community-led organisations at an increased rate, to protect communities and the most vulnerable in our society.

#fairerfutureScotland.

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TSI Scotland Network Survey – July 2020

http://aqsgroup.co.uk/?p=50 TSI Scotland Network Survey – July 2020

Through Covid-19 the TSI Scotland Network carried out an influential study over a two month period. A total of 1,184 organisations took part from local neighbourhoods to national level organisations across Scotland. the Survey and its main findings can be found here.

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Impact of COVID-19 on the Third Sector in Scotland – October 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on the Third Sector in Scotland – October 2020

TSI Scotland Network and Volunteering Scotland have compiled the key findings from their joint surveying of third sector and the volunteering community through Covid-19. The full presentation can be found here.