Democracy Matters Community Engagement Fund

Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) manages the Democracy Matters Community Engagement Fund on behalf of the Scottish Governmnet

Fund Aim

The Scottish Government Democracy Matters Community Engagement Fund provides grants of up to £300 (in exceptional circumstances up to £500) to small voluntary organisations and community groups in Scotland to help them run an event with a group of five or more people to discuss what matters to them in relation to democracy.

Groups and voluntary organisations with a turnover of up to £100,000 can apply for a grant to run an event and cover costs such as venue hire, catering, childcare and inclusive communication such as interpreters.

A brief report and evidence of what emerged from the event must be returned directly to the Scottish Government by 30 November 2018.  The report can be in a range of formats such as notes from the discussion, a video clip or photographs from flipchart sheets. If a report has not been submitted by the agreed date, you will need to repay the grant.

Reports should be sent by email to or by Post to ‘freepost DEMOCRACY MATTERS”, more information is available at


Funding Criteria and Eligibility

To apply for a grant, groups must have:

  • A constitution and an annual income below £100,000 in the last financial year (excluding any income for capital items such as buildings and equipment)
  • A bank account in the name of the group with 2 signatories on all payments
  • Be able to hold an event by 16th November and provide feedback by 30th November

Groups without a constitution or bank account can still receive funding, but the application has to be made by another body submitting the application on their behalf.  If successful this other body will receive the grant and is responsible to VAF for how it is spent.

Groups that are not charities will be considered for a grant if:

  • Their purpose and activities could be considered charitable
  • Their constitution or set of rules makes it clear that any assets or funds that belong to the group can only be used for the group’s purposes and cannot be distributed amongst members.

There are few restrictions on what can be applied for.  However, costs should relate to holding an event for five or more people to discuss their views on how to create a better democracy in Scotland. The minimum grant is £100 and the maximum grant is £300. 

In exceptional circumstances a grant of up to £500 could be awarded if, for example, a larger number of people are attending or inclusive communication costs are higher.

An organisation or group can apply for more than one grant if the events involve different people.

Costs can include:

  • Venue hire
  • Catering costs
  • Childcare costs
  • Travel costs
  • Inclusive communications


How to Apply

Applicants should follow the link to the online application form.

It is advisable to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser when completing your online application.


Further Information & Enquiries

If you have further queries about the Fund, or wish to discuss your project eligibility, please email VAF on

For more information, please refer to our promotional flyer.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 31 October, however grant award decisions will be being made on a weekly basis.  Early applications would be preferred.

VAF staff can provide technical support but please note that we cannot offer project specific advice or comment on draft applications.