Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Foundation Scotland unlocks Scotlands missing millions

FOUNDATION Scotland’s release of over £2.3 million from dormant trusts is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ windfall for communities.  

Trusts formed over a century ago to help boys with the surname Stewart, supply pensions to women of good character or provide medical assistance pre-NHS will now be used to fund current-day needs thanks to a partnership project that has already unlocked over £2.3 million from lost and forgotten charitable accounts.

Foundation Scotland has revealed they have identified nearly 300 dormant charitable trusts through the project run in collaboration with The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Charitable trusts typically provide public benefit by making grants or donations to other charities, voluntary groups or individuals as laid out in their original constitution. Launched in May 2021, Scotland’s Revitalising Trusts Project was set up to identify charitable trusts that appear to be inactive and support them to reactivate.  For a trust to be classed as inactive, they either had no income or expenditure or donated less than 30% of their total income over the last five years.

There are different reasons why a trust can lie dormant. It can be difficult to recruit new trustees, and find time to run the charity or as times change, it can be impossible to identify beneficiaries befitting the original deeds of the trust. Foundation Scotland has over 25 years of experience distributing funds which provide long-term benefits for communities. As part of this national project, they are supporting trustees to release inactive funds so that they can be redistributed to good causes across Scotland. Alternatively, Foundation Scotland will support trustees to breathe new life into the charity, for example by changing their charitable purpose to help address new needs in local communities.

Steff Bell, Revitalising Trust Project Advisor at Foundation Scotland said:

“In the current climate, it’s more important than ever that charitable funds are being put to good use. Communities the length and breadth of the country suffered through covid and now they are struggling with the cost of living crisis. It’s good to know that we’ve been able to assist in reactivating these funds and putting them to good use when they’re needed most.

“We’re delighted that we’ve already unlocked over £2.3 million for good causes across Scotland but we know this is just the tip of the iceberg.  We are making great progress; overall, the trustees we have approached have received the offer of support positively, with several indicating that the trustees had been stuck for a number of years, unable to find appropriate support to distribute the funds.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with more trustees, alongside OSCR, to help these trusts maximise their funds and reach for the public good. We know trustees want to make a real and positive difference to those who need it most. If you think your charity could benefit from support to spend its funds, please do get in touch with us and we’ll help you work out the best next steps for your charity.”

Steve Kent, Policy Manager at OSCR said:

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Foundation Scotland on this important Project and to see our joint effort to reach out to inactive trusts starting to bear fruit. We want public trust in charities to remain strong and never more so than in the present challenging times. It is vital that every pound of charitable funds is seen to be working hard for good causes but, even with the best intentions, it is sometimes a challenge for trustees to make that happen. This Project is an excellent example of what can be achieved by offering trustees a little support and encouragement at the right time.”

For more information about the project, please visit:


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