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Highlights from our work in 2020/21 - Inspiring Scotland


The latest stories from Inspiring Scotland and our partner charities.

Highlights from our work in 2020/21

At our core, Inspiring Scotland is all about providing support to organisations to enable social impact, and this past year was no exception.

In a year of such challenge, we had to adapt to continue providing robust support to over 450 organisations across Scotland – responding to new challenges within our portfolios and sharing learnings more widely to strengthen the third sector. Despite the unprecedented challenges, we have constantly been inspired by the innovation, commitment and drive shown by charity leaders, staff and volunteers.

When the pandemic began to unfold, Inspiring Scotland took a leading role in Scotland’s collaborative response, deploying essential emergency funding to over 91 third sector organisations through Covid response grants as well as our own funding, made possible thanks to private donors.

Our teams take a hands-on approach with the charities we support. This focus on relationships allowed us to direct financial resources in the most effective way whilst also supporting organisations to become stronger and more resilient. A great example of this was our weekly gatherings for charity CEOs. These gatherings
were desperately needed – especially at the beginning of the pandemic – and provided a forum for third sector leaders to connect and gain a fuller understanding of issues affecting the sector. These learnings were distilled into insight reports, which we publicly shared to help identify the additional support the third sector needed.

Inspiring Scotland has grown over the past 18 months, with the inclusion of 7 new funding programmes. These new funding streams have expanded our thematic reach, from providing vital support for families in the perinatal period to delivering much needed capital green investment for island communities. We were pleased to welcome new team members to the organisation to begin our work in Equality & Human Rights.

We took the bold decision to launch Willow Den, our not-for-profit trading subsidiary offering early learning and childcare in exclusively outdoor settings for 3- to 5-year-olds in Scotland. This venture really speaks to the ethos of Inspiring Scotland; we built expertise in Early Learning and Childcare through our Thrive Outdoors work, identified a lack of provision and then mobilised funding and key partners to increase availability of high-quality outdoor nurseries in Scotland. Willow Den is due to open its doors in 2021, and I look forward to sharing more news as this develops.

We know at Inspiring Scotland that obstacles are meant to be overcome, and looking back on these 12 months I am in awe of the great strides that the third sector has made to adapt and to continue to drive impact across Scotland. While we still have a long road ahead of us, and the full picture of the impacts from Covid remains unclear, at Inspiring Scotland we believe that collaboration and sharing what works will be the best way forward.

To end, I would just like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all our supporters who make our work possible – from our generous and passionate donors, to the dedicated volunteers in our Specialist Volunteer Network and the charities in our portfolios, to the third sector leaders and staff, and all the partners who have collaborated with us over the year. We look forward to continuing working towards our vision of a Scotland in which everyone is given the chance to enjoy a happy, healthy life free from poverty or disadvantage.

Read more about the highlights from Inspiring Scotland’s work in 2020/21.

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