Update from Ian Murray MP

Please note that all views expressed in this article are from the author Ian Murray’s newsletter. Merchiston Community Council is not a party affiliated organisation. This is for resident information purposes only and MCC should not be held accountable for the views expressed in this bulletin. 

This month’s newsletter has updates on the closure of Braid Road, anti-social behaviour in Moredun as well as the fantastic news that the Council has agreed to sell the former Bruntsfield St Oswald’s Church to the community. There are also updates from HMRC on COVID-19 related support packages and a new grants and funding section where I have attempted to collate all the funding opportunities that may be applicable to local groups and individuals.
I am on paternity leave but my team are on hand should you require any assistance as always. Please get in touch using the below details if you have any issues you would like to raise.
Email: ian.murray.mp@parliament.uk
Telephone: 0131 662 4520
Facebook: Ian Murray for Edinburgh South
Twitter: IanMurrayMP
Website: ianmurraymp.com
P.S. On a personal note I am delighted to have become a daddy for the first time this month. Zola Marcelle El-Azm Murray was born last week weighing in at 6lb 12.5oz. Mariam and I are over the moon. I’m in awe of both the NHS and Mariam. It’s remarkable and so much easier for us dads!
Grants and Funding University of Edinburgh Community Grants
The University of Edinburgh’s Community Grants scheme is now open for applications. Since 2017, the university have awarded over £270,000 in grants to charities, community groups and social enterprises doing fantastic work across the region. We know that this year has been especially challenging for so many people. That is why the university have awarded additional funding for projects related to Covid-19 earlier in the year, and have brought this round of grants forward to early autumn. Groups can apply for up to £5,000 for a project, which should increase engagement between the University and communities while having a positive social impact.  

IUK Announces Women in Innovation Awards 2020-21
Innovate UK (IUK) first launched Women in Innovation in 2016, after research revealed that just one in seven applications for IUK support came from women. IUK believes that boosting the number of female entrepreneurs could deliver £180 billion to the economy. The 2020-21 Women in Innovation Awards aim to fund and support women with innovative ideas and ambitious plans that will inspire others. Applicants must be confident, with the support of an award, that they can make a significant contribution to a pressing societal, environmental and/or economic challenge through projects across a variety of innovation areas. IUK has allocated up to £500,000 for 10 awards at £50,000 each. In addition to the grant funding, all award holders will receive a package of mentoring, coaching and business support tailored to their needs. Access to relevant facilities and equipment will be also be provided where this is appropriate. To be eligible for an award, the applicant must be a female founder, co-founder or senior decision maker within a UK registered micro or SME business which has been operating for at least 12 months. Anyone who self-identifies as a woman is eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted from 1 September 2020 until 14 October 2020 (11:00 BST).  

Funding to Support LGBT+ Communities During COVID-19 Pandemic
Non-profit LGBT+ organisations across the UK are being invited to apply to a new fund, worth £350,000. Small Grants of up to £5,000 and Main Grants of between £5,001 and £15,000 are available. The fund will support ongoing work, core costs and additional work which strengthens the position of LGBT+ organisations and their ability to respond to community needs arising during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants can be used for: Delivering a range of wellbeing services and/or offering targeted specialist services. Providing shelter and accommodation services to people experiencing homelessness. Supporting organisations to adapt and respond to the pandemic. Offering formal training and skills development and educational coaching. Providing essential delivery services ensuring the practical needs of vulnerable individuals and families are met. Providing specialist and general information, guidance and advice online or by telephone. Supporting community and volunteer-led resilience and response coordination to the pandemic. There is particular interest in projects supporting those LGBT+ people and communities that are underrepresented and/or subject to higher levels of marginalisation. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until all the funding is awarded.  

Support for Scotland’s Hotels Affected by COVID-19 The Hotel Support Programme has been set up to protect sustainable employment within Scotland’s larger hotels in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The scheme will help a targeted number of hotels invest and adapt in a way that protects locally important jobs in the medium to long term. Through the £14 million programme, individual support packages will be designed for selected hotels, in line with their unique needs. This could be made up of a mix of consultancy, business advice and funding. Some examples of what may be included are: • Support for recruitment, training, developing job specs and upskilling. • Help accessing loans or equity finance if appropriate. • Market, process and product development. • International trade support and access to international networks. • Grant funding of up to £250,000 per hotel to put towards additional costs and investment (including capital investment). • Funding will be awarded per individual hotel, while other support may be delivered per hotel or across a hotel group as appropriate. Larger hotels and chains of hotels in Scotland that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may apply. The hotel must provide jobs that are critical to the local economy and the recovery of the tourism sector. Expressions of interest being accepted until 9 September 2020 (17:00 BST).  

Scotland’s Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund Now Open
The Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund has been established to support Scotland’s grassroots live music venues, ie those developing new talent, that were financially sustainable before coronavirus (COVID-19). It will offer funding to prevent permanent closure and stabilise these venues until 31 October 2020. The total budget for this fund is £2.2 million. Individual applications for between £5,000 and £50,000 can be made. Applications are accepted from owners or tenants of grassroots live music venues that are indoor, permanent venues in Scotland whose main function is to present all-year-round live grassroots music events for a public audience. Venues should have a capacity of below 600, however, applications from venues with capacities up to 1,000 will be considered on an exceptional basis if a significant grassroots focus can be demonstrated. Venues which work with all musical types and genres are welcome, including pubs, clubs, cafes or bars with significant live grassroots music programmes. The deadline for applications is Thursday 3 September 2020 (12:00 BST).  

Tesco Announces Final Deadline for COVID-19 Communities Fund
In April, Tesco responded to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic by setting up a new short-term fund to support local communities across the UK and to support organisational needs rather than fund specific projects. In order respond quickly to the emergency, a streamlined application and payment process was created to make it easier to get funds out quickly. Organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups, as part of their emergency response in supporting local communities, still have time to apply for a single payment of £500. Applications will be welcomed from a wide range of organisations including: voluntary/community organisations, registered charities, schools, health bodies, Parish/Town councils, social enterprises, Community Interest Companies, community councils, local authorities and housing organisations. Other not-for-profit organisations might also be eligible. Groups must be constituted and be able to provide a copy of their governing document. Typically, the fund will support organisations that have experienced: • Increased demand – a holiday hunger club needs more resources to support children through the summer months or a food bank whose stocks are running low and needs an immediate donation to enable the food bank to restock. • Disrupted services – a local charity setting up a delivery service to replace its monthly lunch club, or a charity needing to set up a telephone service to support beneficiaries. • New services – a health focused charity having to set up a new online patient service requires new IT equipment or a mental health charity developing a new service. The final date to submit an application is 18 September 2020.    

Funding for Scottish Museums to Recover from COVID-19 Crisis
A new £4 million Fund has been launched to enable Scottish independent museums to cover a funding gap that they anticipate occurring before 31 March 2021 but also to undertake activity that will build up the organisation’s resilience to manage the ongoing financial challenges brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Grants will be needs-based and most grants are expected to be for more than £10,000. Smaller requests will also be considered. The grants are subject to state aid rules and therefore will not exceed the threshold of €800,000 (around £732,320). The funding can be used for the following: • Operating costs up to 31 March 2021. • Re-start costs both for the remainder of the 2020 season and for 2021 season. • Critical repairs and maintenance. • Business model review and implementation costs. • Activity to support and develop community wellbeing. • Other activity to build up sustainability and resilience. Independent museums run by a not-for-profit organisation may apply for the funding. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the Fund closes at 5pm on 30 October 2020.
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