A funder has announced a major devolution of decision-making.

For the first time all funding decisions up to £5 million made by the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be decided in Scotland, allowing greater autonomy and the ability to respond directly to Scottish heritage priorities.

This move is part of new plans to distribute more than £1 billion of National Lottery money to the UK’s heritage over the next five years.

The announcement came as the fund, which has distributed £855 million to more than 4,000 projects across Scotland over the past 25 years, unveiled a new look.

Research has found that National Lottery players are keen to know more about how their money is used, so in future every organisation awarded funding will be asked to think about how National Lottery players will be thanked, acknowledged and invited to participate in their work.

A new, simplified portfolio of funding has opened for applications. This will include National Lottery Grants for Heritage - an open programme for any type of heritage project in Scotland from £3,000–£5 million.

The  Big Lottery Fund, the UK’s largest community funder - which distributes 40% of the good cause money raised by National Lottery players - will now be called The National Lottery Community Fund.

When the Big Lottery visited Orkney in November last year they let us know that the name change was on the horizon.

Further information here


Run by Cycling UK, the Big Bike Revival is all about getting people onto bikes in their local community. They are looking for volunteers and community groups who may be interested in trying cycling or being involved in helping to set up local community cycling groups.

This group /groups could be set up with in a community, or even within another group such as a already exisitng support group for an organisation. Family groups, women’s only groups, over 50’s, groups within mental health support . There are so many type of groups that could be formed. These groups would cycle at a pace that is comfortable to the group.

Amanda Wagstaffe from Cycle UK will be visiting Orkney on Friday 1st February and will be available to have a chat with any one about Cycle UK and volunteering. If you would like to meet Amanda please contact Rob at VAO on 872 897.

View the website here 


Sound of Mind Workshop, Tuesday March 5th at 10am until 1230pm. VAO Boardroom, Bridge Street, Kirkwall.

Worried about a friend’s mental health, wanting to know how to help? Come along to this informal workshop in a safe environment to explore and build confidence in how to approach the subject.

We will look at wellbeing and what influences it, how we can help each other to understand about the processes we all go through and then will approach the subject of offering help to those you are concerned may be thinking of taking their own life.

Please contact enquiries@vaorkney.org.uk to book. Places limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.






Organisations can apply for a maximum of £50,000, or £25,000 if a shop, pub, or village hall project (inclusive of VAT) for a maximum period of three years.

Projects must take place in a rural area and focus on at least one of the following three areas:

  • Sustaining Rural Communities
  • Projects that deliver assets and services that keep isolated communities together and develop a more sustainable rural economy.
  • Developing sustainable rural community assets, businesses and services.
  • Providing advice and new skills and business training that benefit the local economy.
  • Improving the prospects of viability for farm and rural businesses
  • Projects that will focus on developing stronger, more sustainable farm businesses and other rural enterprises with the aim of halting the decline of the rural economy.
  • Encouraging local food production and short supply chains and knowledge transfer e.g. farmer networks.
  • Providing new skills and training for rural, and agricultural benefit.
  • Supporting Aid Delivery in Emergency and Building Resilience
  • Projects that support farm businesses, rural businesses and communities to plan for and recover from natural disasters such as flooding or animal disease and build resilience.


Applications for core costs such as staffing, overheads, training and equipment will be considered.

The deadline for applications is 21 February 2019 (4pm).

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