Accessing Local Funding

Some Neighbourhood Watch groups exist without spending any money. Others ask each of the members for a contribution towards initial start-up costs like signs or stickers. Other groups want to carry out projects aimed at improving the safety and security of their community, and occasionally they need funding for such projects.


Applying for funding is a skill in itself.  One of the first places you should try is your Local Authority.  Local Authorities in Scotland all have funding officers who will be able to give you advice on funds that may be available locally.  You can find your own local contact by downloading the document at the bottom of this page.

At our AGM in 2013, Alison Smith, who was then chair of the above group, gave a presentation which provided hints and tips for applying for funding.   You can view this presentation by clicking here.

Some key points when applying for funding

  • Make sure your group or committee are all in agreement about applying for funding
  • Make sure you have the correct form and that you know when the deadline is for applications
  • Only apply for funds that you are eligible for, and that your project meets the criteria for
  • Make sure you explain clearly and concisely what you will be doing, and what DIFFERENCE it will make to your community

For examples of the above and more hints and tips, please see Alison’s presentation by clicking on the link below.

Norrie Brown of Orr Park Neighbourhood Watch was also kind enough to give us his thoughts on fundraising:

Many of the things a neighbourhood watch are involved in cost little except for time. However, if the group holds regular meetings, there may be the need to hire a suitable room in which to hold these. Similarly, printing things or mailing letters may incur some small costs. This cost can be met by various means.

Many groups may have a joining fee while others might charge a nominal fee for each meeting. The usual closed raffle is one way of generating some funds which could be sufficient to run the group. At some the members bring a raffle prize as well as purchasing tickets. In some areas local businesses can be helpful. One must always remember that not all businesses are able to support a group. Any approach should be made in a considerate way and accompanied by acknowledgement of any contribution that a business may make. A note of thanks in your local newspaper is always a good thing to consider, this really can help a business and can double as some advertising for them.

Before any group wishes to seek funding from an external source, there are several items which need to be in place. The group must have a bank account with up to date accounts, a constitution and a committee.  There are many sources of funding available and the writer cannot suggest all of these. However, entering “scottish funding for clubs and groups” into Google or another search engine is a pretty good start. There are many funders listed there, some are appropriate while others are not. It must be remembered that, while the funds are widely available, the funders need to know that their contribution will be used for the purpose intended and for community benefit. Some require an end of project report with a financial breakdown of how the funds have been used.

It is no use applying for funding if you only think your group or organisation could do with additional funds. You must have a plan of what you want to do and carry out a survey and breakdown of costs to proceed. Ideally projects involve the wider community (including any disadvantaged persons) or indeed to make the area a better and safer place for everyone to live in.

Working with local government (whether it is your local Councillor, MP or MSP together with your local Council, Police Scotland, Community Council, Tenant and Residents group) can add credibility to any group who take the initiative. Many councils have a community fund which it is possible to access but the criteria is pretty much the same in that you need to illustrate a project and breakdown of costs. Most have a community development department who are happy to help groups where they can and they will often offer help in completing the application.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas for ways your neighbourhood watch can fundraise.

Let us know what you end up doing in your area!