As a key part of this review for Scottish Government of funding advice provision for rural community groups in Scotland, Rocket Science mapped the available provision of funding advice and support. The advice landscape is complex, with many providers providing a partial service, some being focussed specifically on rural issues, some providing broad advice. This work mapped out that provision according to key features:
- What type of providers provide support? (eg, Local Authorities, National thematic organisations, funders themselves, Third Sector Interfaces)
- Extent to which different types of provider have a focus on providing funding advice (ie, is that their core function?)
- Extent to which providers focus on rural groups?
- Extent to which providers focus on early stage or existing (and possibly trading) community groups
- Extent to which providers are paid for the support they provide
- What level of resource is collectively available in each Local Authority area (eg, FTE equivalents providing free funding advice for rural community groups)
Mapping of the funding advice market was conducted through desk research and through extensive consultation with providers, including e Survey, telephone interview and triangulating results at participative workshops. The market needs for advice on funding were also mapped through consultation with community groups (online survey, telephone interview and workshop).
The output of this mapping is a clear sense of the diverse market around funding advice and support, and key differences in the type of provision between different types of organisation.
In feedback workshops, the central message was that the mapping was extremely valuable in providing an overview of the funding advice provision. One concern that was raised was the need to understand whether the quality of the advice provision was sufficient for communities’ needs. The investigation then assessed communities’ views on the quality of advice provision, finding that across 7 major types of funding advice needs there were broad gaps in the awareness and accessibility of high quality provision for community groups. We also found that some advice providers were favoured much more strongly than others, with unexpected results.
The results are being collated into key recommendations for a new model for provision of funding advice to find innovative solutions to the existing gaps in the market.