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Community Engagement Fund

The Green Infrastructure Community Engagement Fund (GICEF) was launched in early 2017. It provides £0.5 million of ERDF funding through a competitive selection process for an intended 10-15 projects. With match funding, this will deliver £1.2 million worth of community engagement projects in our cities and larger towns.

It is primarily a revenue fund to support the employment of staff or contractors to work with communities. The aim is to help communities to make better use of their greenspace, or to develop their own proposals on how it could be improved. This will be delivered through a number of locally led and locally relevant projects.

The main eligibility criteria for application are:

  • Projects must be located in population areas of 10,000 or more, and in the 15% most deprived areas according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (the 15% threshold is 1046).

  • The total eligible project costs must be a minimum of £50,000 and a maximum of £120,000.

  • The minimum threshold for grant is 10% of total project cost.

  • The maximum threshold for grant is 40% for the Lowland and Uplands (LUPS) and 50% for projects in Highlands and Islands (H&I).

  • The maximum grant we can therefore award is £48,000 for most of Scotland, and £60,000 in the Highlands and Islands.

  • The proposed project work is stand alone and is new in some way.

The outcomes for urban communities we are seeking through the GICEF across Scotland are:

  • Communities understand and engage with their green places.

  • People understand how green infrastructure provides benefits for their community.

  • Influence of communities on green infrastructure (GI) development increases.

  • Community ownership and empowerment increases, leading to full potential of green infrastructure being realised.

  • Communities want to share their experiences of green infrastructure.


As these projects will be led by the community it is important that they are designed for the needs of that community. Involvement of local NGOs and intermediary bodies is encouraged to ensure that projects are meaningful and lead to long-term benefits. We are looking to fund projects which have a clear legacy and positive impacts which will be realised beyond the period of GICEF money being provided. These projects may be the first step towards further green infrastructure being developed, more extensive community engagement or complementary to wider plans and strategies for the community.

A number of approaches for on-going community engagement are suggested - these are not exhaustive as we do not wish to limit innovation:

  • Art-based – artist working with a community to understand, develop and document their story of engagement and relationship with GI to date, and where they want it to go.

  • Citizen-science - communities supported by a scientist to explore and document the changes in their local environment as a result of engagement with GI, or to document changes in thinking and future planning.

  • Participation and Activity - communities could be supported to develop activities and enterprises associated with their GI.

  • Volunteering and skills development – development of local skills through volunteering or skills development programmes, which involve direct engagement with local GI, or learning elsewhere and transferring that learning to their local area.

  • Nature-based - focusing on developing people’s understanding and appreciation of urban nature, communities in areas of GI funding would be supported to explore and engage with their local biodiversity through surveys, nature walks, mini-beast adventures, wetland activities (clean-ups, pond-dipping, etc.), increasing habitat for biodiversity through active community management and celebrating nature through events.

  • Ecosystems - Communities could be supported to explore the ecosystem services provided by their green infrastructure and to consider how they can benefit from its improvement.

Check Your Eligibility

The following checklist is used to assess the eligibility of proposed projects. For an application to be successful it must score positively for each of these eligibility questions. Projects scoring full marks for eligibility will then go on to be scored for quality. We strongly recommend that you ensure you can answer YES to all of the questions below before completing the rest of the application form.

  1. Are the total eligible project costs between £50k and £120k?
  2. Is the grant requested £48,000 or less (£60,000 or less for Highlands & Islands)?
  3. Is the intervention rate requested greater than 10% of the total eligible budget and no more than 40% of eligible costs for LUPS and 50% for H&I?
  4. Can you confirm that your project is new and will not have started prior to offer of funding?
  5. Can you demonstrate that activities will be complete by 30 September 2019?
  6. Can you provide evidence that there is a local demand for the project?
  7. Will the project activities take place within or benefit areas within the most deprived 15% of SIMD?
  8. Does the application benefit an urban settlement in Scotland with a population of more than 10,000?
  9. Can you demonstrate the added value of your project?
  10. Can you demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and sufficient administrative and financial capacity to carry out the proposed project?
  11. Can you confirm that all proposed staff will be committed to spending at least 40% of their time on the project?
  12. Are all the activities and costs (including staff costs and procured costs) for which you are requesting funding eligible?
  13. Can you demonstrate that monitoring and evaluation requirements will be complied with?
  14. Can you demonstrate that branding and publicity requirements will be complied with?
  15. Can you demonstrate that all other funding options have been explored and convinced us that the project cannot and will not proceed without the funding requested from us?
  16. Are match funding sources eligible? (i.e. does not include other EU or in-kind contributions or private/commercial funding)
  17. Is the match funding for the project either confirmed or identified and expected to be confirmed before GICEF funding is awarded?

If you have answered YES to all of the above questions, you are likely to be eligible to apply. If you are interested in making an application, please contact us.

ESIF National Rules on Eligibility of Expenditure