We’re delighted to announce that 35 communities have received a funding boost from our refugee-led Reaching New Scots Fund.

More than £800,000 has been awarded to projects across Scotland that help New Scots feel at home in their communities.

Making Funding fairer and more accessible

The Reaching New Scots Fund was managed and co-designed by Scottish Refugee Council and volunteers from refugee backgrounds, in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund.

This new approach aims to make it easier for refugee-led community groups, that might otherwise miss out on funding opportunities, to successfully apply for grants.

Applications were assessed by a panel of staff from The National Lottery Community Fund and 11 volunteers with lived experience of the refugee and asylum system.

Supporting New Scot communities

All 35 projects awarded funding are either run by refugee communities, or provide support for people seeking safety in Scotland.

Successful projects include:


ScrapAntics in Dundee will fund a series of creative and social activities for recently arrived refugees. The programme will include a ‘Conversation Cafe’, cookery classes, and creating a mural and garden of sanctuary.

Sunny Cycles

Glasgow-based Sunny Cycles will run bike lessons, skills sessions and group bike rides for New Scots and their families. The project will help adults and children gain greater knowledge of the Glasgow cycle network, so they can travel round the city safely.

Inspiring Young Voices

In the Highlands, Inspiring Young Voices will create a peer support group to improve the emotional and social wellbeing of young people from refugee backgrounds. The project will be shaped and owned by New Scots aged between 10-25 years of age.

Jambo! Radio

Renfrewshire-based Jambo! Radio will offer training in radio presenting, production and broadcasting skills. The 12-month project will offer hands on training and support for New Scots interested in pursuing a career in broadcast media.

Amma Birth Companions

Amma Birth Companions will use the funding to support refugee women in some of Glasgow’s most marginalised communities. Their highly skilled staff deliver specialist, trauma-informed perinatal, birth and postnatal services.

For the Love of a Child

Fife-based For the Love of a Child, will offer dramatherapy sessions for children who have arrived in Scotland from Ukraine. Over the next 12 months, the project will support 56 5-11-year-olds who are experiencing trauma and loss.

Afroscots United FC

Afroscots United FC helps New Scots to keep fit and make friends through their shared love of the beautiful game. Their project aims to tackle loneliness and isolation. They will hold walk and talk sessions and host cultural celebrations on significant dates like Burns Night, Easter and Eid.

Meet the Reaching New Scots Fund volunteers

We asked some of our volunteers how they felt about being part of the Reaching New Scots Fund.

Fatou:This experience gives me hope. It’s so important to include New Scots. People with lived experience know about problems, like language barriers. We know how funding can benefit communities. I’m very happy to have been involved in this funding because it’s going to change a lot of people’s lives.”

Solomon: “I love it so much! I didn’t know anything about funding when I started this process. I had been applying for funding and missing out and I didn’t know why. Now I know how decisions are made and what funders are looking for. It has enlightened me.”

Adebolaji: “We have good lived experience so we really know the needs of other people who are passing through this journey.”

Eissa: “This project empowered me with knowledge and skills about the application process, what makes a good project, and how to make funding decisions. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and I also shared information and knowledge from my lived experience. I want to start an organisation to help people affected by climate migration. I’ll use all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to make it a success.”

Shared learning

The Reaching New Scots Fund puts refugee communities at the heart of funding decisions. Our panel of refugee volunteers have gained valuable experience of working alongside an established funder. And The National Lottery Community Fund has gained greater insight into the challenges faced by small refugee-led organisations.

Our CEO, Sabir Zazai said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund to put people with lived experience at the heart of the funding process.

“There can be so many barriers that prevent refugee communities from successfully applying for funding. Therefore, it’s great to see our refugee-led panel using their knowledge and experience to help change that.

“People from refugee backgrounds have so many skills and insights to offer. The Reaching New Scots Fund is a really great example of how we can harness these skills for the benefit of communities across Scotland.”

Neil Ritch, Scotland Director, The National Lottery Community Fund said: “It was a real pleasure to spend time with our partners at Scottish Refugee Council as part of the final round of decision making on the Reaching New Scots Fund.

“Pooling our grant making skills and knowledge with the expertise of our Scottish Refugee Council colleagues has been a really positive experience. We’ve all learned a lot. I was really heartened to see the positive relationships forged and hugely encouraged to hear multiple stories of mutual learning.

“I’m hugely grateful to the volunteers who have been so generous with their knowledge, expertise and time and I’m excited to see the funded projects deliver in communities all over Scotland.”

A new approach to funding

The Reaching New Scots Fund is the second phase in a collaborative approach to funding made possible thanks to £1.5 million raised by National Lottery players for grassroots groups and organisations.

We hope this project will help shape future funding opportunities, making it easier for groups supporting New Scots to apply and successfully secure grants.

Rachel Lamb
Author: Rachel Lamb