February 2017

Over the last 6 months Spirit of the Gorbals have been busy promoting and encouraging Spark grant applications from individuals and groups of citizens in the Gorbals. Spark grants are designed to release small amounts of kickstart funding to support local people to run projects and activities that benefit others. In an attempt to reach out and encourage participation from more members of the community, the Panel planned and organised two events during the autumn in 2016 - the Gorbals Games and the Great Gorbals Giveaway. The events were a way to connect with new people, promote and advertise Spirit of the Gorbals and also to devolve decision making power to the wider community. 

Alongside this, the Young Deciders have been busy promoting their own small grants programme encouraging young people to take action. 

The panel continue to meet on a monthly basis for decision making meetings, planning and reviewing. 

This was a free event open to all ages. Members of the panel designed a programme of old-school games for participants to enjoy. Activities were supported by Task Childcare and the Young Deciders as well as Spark grantees including Mike McCafferty, who entertained the crowds with Topple the King; the Crafty Sew n Sews, who demonstrated and encouraged folk to try their skills on the sewing machine and Fiona Weir and Rochelle Costello who entertained with arts, bubbles and balloons. Ellen Dickson from Team Jinky, John Fisher from Southside Star and members from the Blackfriars Court Bingo Group and Tower Cafe - all former Sparks grantees - came to share their stories and inspire others. Lots of fun was had by all! 

Approximately 70 people came on the evening to play marbles, chuckies, skipping ropes, tug-a-war and more! It also served as a platform to launch the Great Gorbals Giveway. 

The Giveaway took place on the 29th November and was Spirit of the Gorbals first Participatory Budgeting event. Not sure what Participatory Budgeting is? Simply put it is a way of giving some decision-making power on spending a budget to the citizens it affects. So, who gets what, was down those present at the event. However, it’s not all about the money. Participating means you can celebrate, collaborate and connect with friends, neighbours and colleagues in a warm and inviting atmosphere. 

In order to encourage wider participation not only in attending the event but applying for funding, the panel ran a series of drop-in surgeries in public places in the Gorbals. These happened over the course of 3 weeks at Library, the St Francis Centre and the Crown Street Co-op. We found having a visible presence in the community helped to connect with new people and begin conversations that otherwise would not have started.

At the Giveaway, all applicants had a stall in the marketplace to showcase their projects and to tell the public more about what they wanted to do. Everyone that attended, who was aged 10 years and over and also a Gorbals resident, got to place 3 votes for their top 3 projects. To make this as accessible as possible tokens, in the form of chocolate gold coins, were used to place votes. In total, 429 votes were cast with 143 people voting over the course of the evening. £5,000 was available for distribution and 13 groups received either full or part-funding to support their activity.

Volunteers including members from the panel, the Young Deciders and local partner agencies alongside local people dedicated their time to helping on the night. From serving soup to counting votes all hands were on deck!


Since launching their small grants programme the Young Deciders have had four grants rounds, and made 9 awards totaling £3,550 to support youth-led action. They also received their first video application from Blackfriars Eco-Committee whose creativity was showcased through film. Other projects funded include a trip being organised by young people to Thorpe Park, pitch hire for football sessions at Glasgow Green and music books for a music group: 

“We have been going to music for one and a half years. We would like to progress with our music group. We are already teaching other people younger other than us how to play different instruments. We are very keen to develop ourselves as well as other people and we want to share our skills. As part of advertising the group we will be putting earphones on famous statues around the Gorbals.”

Not only do the Young Deciders make decisions about grants they have been very involved in promoting opportunities at local events such as The Gorbals Market. This year they'll be looking to extend opportunities for more young people to get involved whether this be in supporting young people to apply for grants or encouraging others to come on board and join the decision making group. The Young Deciders are supported by both staff from the Gorbals Youth Cafe and the Barn. 

If you're aged between 10 - 21 years and would like to apply for a grant from the Young Deciders, applications can be downloaded from here: or you can pick up locally from the Way to Go Cafe or The Barn. Deadlines for grants applications this year are: 17th March (awards in April), 29th May (awards in June), 21st August (awards in September), 23rd October (awards in November). 

What Next?! 

We are now in the 3rd and final year of the Fourteen programme. The panel's priority at the moment is to continue planning for this year and beyond. This involves reflecting and learning from the process so far alongside looking forward to envision what the future could be for Spirit of the Gorbals beyond December 2017.

However, in the meantime business is 'as usual' with the On Your Marks! and Sparks! grants programmes still open on a rolling basis. Applications can be made at anytime! 

On Your Marks! is for constituted groups to apply for £250 - £2000. It may take up to 8 weeks to process applications. 

Sparks! Individuals can apply for a Spark Grant of up to £250. Informal groups can apply for a Spark Grant of up to £500. Applicants must be Gorbals citizens. 

We also now have  A NEW GRANTS PROGRAMME OPEN.....Get Set! Grants of up £5,000 are available for constituted groups to run a programme or activity in line with the Spirit priority themes and outcomes. The full project cost can be funded. The deadline for applications is 31st March 2017 with awards made in May. 

Any project or activity must fit with one or more of the Spirit of the Gorbals outcomes and one or more of the priorities.

Spirit of the Gorbals has four main outcomes - or differences that it hopes to contribute to. These are:
• Improving individual well-being;
• Improving perceptions towards disability and impairment;
• Overcoming isolation;
• Connecting people within communities

Spirit of the Gorbals hopes to achieve this kind of impact through focusing on four priority areas:
• Social action and volunteering;
• Grass roots sport and physical activity;
• Cultural activity and arts;
• Youth development

All application material is available from our website and applications can also be made online:

If you have any questions or would simply like to get in touch please contact Kim Soliman on or 0141 341 4968. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to read our update and we'll be in touch soon with another!!


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