An innovative community fund managed by a Scottish procurement specialist has hit a landmark total of £1 million.
The fund – which has supported dozens of projects in Scotland, including vital Covid-19 relief schemes – was conceived by the Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA), which was created both by and for organisations that buy products and services for the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings throughout Scotland.
As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus generated by SPA is re-distributed into SPA’s Community Benefit Fund – with SPA’s 14-strong Executive Board members (made up of local authorities and registered social landlords) eligible to apply for a portion of the fund each year to use for projects in their local community.
SPA work in partnership with the Lintel Trust who manage the Fund and ensure projects and causes support local needs and communities.
In the three years since it was launched, the Fund has distributed £560,000 across 66 community projects – particularly those focused on social inclusion, employability, and digital technology.
In its last financial year (2020-21), an additional £140,000 was distributed to 16 projects across Scotland and benefitted nearly 23,000 people directly – and when added to the £390,000 overall match funding, this takes the total Fund value to in excess of £1million.
And in recognition of the impact of the pandemic, an agreement was reached to repurpose the Fund to ensure it supported and applied greater flexibility towards Covid-19 relief projects, especially those centred on social isolation.
This saw the SPA Community Benefit Fund donate, for example, £10,000 to Social Bite to support delivery of fresh food packs to needy people; £10,000 to Clyde Valley Housing Association’s Chris’s House project which takes people from suicidal crisis to recovery and support for South Ayrshire Council’s Holiday Hunger program which has seen nearly 14,000 meals delivered to families in need.
SPA Director Clive Feeney said the Fund was dedicated to improving and promoting social value in communities throughout the country.
Clive said: “With over £1m being given back to communities in terms of grants and matched funding, it is clear the SPA Community Benefit Fund is playing a massive part in supporting vital projects that are bringing direct benefits to thousands of people across Scotland.
“We are proud to see the Fund continue to grow and widen its reach – and we look forward to seeing even more communities and projects benefitting for years to come.”
Kate Christie, of the Lintel Trust said: “Very early on in the pandemic, Lintel Trust and SPA recognised the impact that lockdown was likely to have on funded projects already being delivered and those community-based projects that were due to start.
“We offered the option for organisations to repurpose their funding to help their communities address more pressing needs caused by the pandemic.”
This year has also seen Lintel Trust come under the wing of SPA, although it will maintain its independent status as a Scottish registered charity and will continue its work to support Scottish housing associations and their communities.
Projects undertaken through SPA, which partners with bodies such as Local Authorities, housing associations, universities, and emergency services on procurement frameworks, totaled £199 million in 2020-21. SPA also achieved a milestone in the last year by celebrating their 5th year in operation in March of this year.
SPA, which operates from a head office in Livingston, has a team of dedicated experts who are firmly focused on championing best practice and ensuring partners can benefit from access to specialist procurement solutions that deliver social value in their communities.
Image Credit: © Simon Lees