Small Grants

Small Grants for up to £5k are available to projects, lasting up to 6 months, that will directly benefit patients of NHS Lothian, whether in hospital wards and departments or in community health services.

We recognise given the broad range of services that NHS Lothian provides, how staff define ‘patient benefit’ will widely vary so we are happy to consider applications encompassing a wide range of project types.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be employees of NHS Lothian or those employed by GP practices contracted to NHS Lothian and if required, will have informed the applicable manager of their application prior to submission. If applying from a GP practice contracted to provide NHS Lothian services please select ‘General Medical Services’ as your legal status when completing the online application form.

Working with others to deliver your project

For some projects you may need to work with others to deliver the project, either other NHS Lothian department and/or a 3rd sector organisation. Therefore when preparing your application please take the time to establish good contacts so if awarded funding then all those involved are aware of their role in delivering the project.

Funding Restrictions

Please note the small grants programme cannot fund particular costs and these include research costs, salary costs (specifically NHS Lothian or GP Practice employed staff), capital costs or services delivered which are considered core provision by either acute services or GP practices.

Although attending training courses can lead to patient benefits in the longer term, unless training is related to a specific project idea we cannot fund specific training courses through the Small Grants programme. Funding for training should be secured through other funding streams such as core training budgets or the NHS Lothian run Elsie Inglis awards scheme.

Applications on behalf of individuals (for example hardship grants) cannot be accepted. Retrospective requests for financial support (for example reimbursement of petty cash) will not be accepted.

Application Deadlines

Small Grants are awarded four times a year with submission deadlines on 1st February, 1st May, 1st August and 1st November each year.

The next few deadlines for applications are:

  • 1st  May 2020 – decisions made late May 2020
  • 1st August 2020 – decisions made late August 2020
  • 1st November 2020 – decisions made late November 2020
  • 1st February 2021 – decisions made late February 2021

Submissions are accepted up to 23:59 on each date above.

Our normal way to keep in touch with staff about applications is generally via e-mail and sometimes on the phone but in the paper based application form you can state if you want us to send any correspondence via the internal mail.

Application Process

There are two ways to apply for funding, through our online application system or by using the new paper based application form. Regardless of how you apply for funding applications need to provide details in three specific areas, applicant details, project details and project costs.

All applicants must have read and be willing to agree to our grant related Terms and Conditions

We will specifically look for details on the following

  • What do you want to do
  • Why do you want to do it
  • What patient group will benefit
  • What difference will it make and how will you monitor/evaluate this
  • What are the project costs
  • Who are you working with on your idea

Applications which are incomplete or which do not provide a cost breakdown cannot be assessed for funding.

Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with feedback around the reasons for not providing funding, we hope this will help to improve a subsequent future similar application either to ELHF or a different funding body.

Online applications

Please see related documents for the structure of the online application form and how to ensure your application is submitted successfully. If your online application is successfully submitted, you will receive an e-mail confirming your application has been received.

Please note if you include any formatting in the project details provided the online form removes bullet points etc from text you enter so when providing assessors with your application to review, the Grant Manager will reinstate any visible formatting used such as bullet points etc.

If you are having problems accessing your application and need to reset your password please follow the instructions provided.

Paper based form

If you prefer to send in a handwritten application form rather than the online form, please e-mail us for some to be sent out. The application form is part of the booklet and can be detached from the booklet, sealed and returned to us in the internal mail.

At times may take us a while to receive forms through the internal mail and/or for any reason the form may go missing. Therefore as a back up before sending the form in the internal mail it may be worth scanning the completed form and e-mail that onto us so we know to expect an application from you in a particular funding round.

Assessment Process

Eligible applications are reviewed by a small assessment team using an assessment criteria who will consider how the project meets the Health Foundation’s strategic aims and in particular the level of patient benefit.

To enable us to fund as many applications as possible, before the assessment team meet we will review applications against available endowment funds. If an available fund is identified, we will contact the applicable stewards with a view of funding the project from the endowment fund but if the fund steward decides to not support the request it will still be considered for Small Grant funding.

Patient Christmas Funding

For those who request Patient Christmas funding please submit your applications around September or October each year to ensure we can get the funding to you in time for Christmas and New Year. For all Patient Christmas related funding applications we need the following info

  • Ward Number/Department
  • What the funding is for, in general depending on the ward/dept location this normally consists of gifts, food, decoration and tree but can include other items
  • No of patients receiving gifts
  • Cost per patient
  • Staff who will pick up the cash

Following the festive period all completed T&Cs forms, final reports, receipts and unspent cash need to be returned to the respective cashier as soon as possible after the festive period.

Sharing your application with co-applicants for review pre-submission

For technical reasons there are only two ways to share your application with others prior to submission, please see details below about the available options;

Option 1

Log on to the application form and for the responses to the questions in section B, copy and paste the entered responses into an e-mail for sharing with co-applicants.

Option 2

On the Review Screen, choose File / Save As and choose file type ‘Webpage, complete (*.htm, *.html)’, amending the file name and leaving the Encoding as ‘Western European (ISO)’. Then choose Revise and Save and Exit.

This will allow you to send the file to co-applicants and the application form can be amended in light of any comments by going back to the log in screen for the online application form through our website and ‘Apply for a Grant’, choose the grant programme you’re applying for and log in under ‘Retrieve your Application’.

What happens if awarded grant funding ?

Depending on if you are an NHS Lothian staff member or work for a non NHS Lothian run GP practice we will pay awarded funding to the GP practice or to an NHS Lothian cost centre to enable you to deliver the intended project.

If the awarded funds are paid across to NHS Lothian working effectively within the existing NHS Lothian systems and processes for Procurement is then essential to delivering your project.

When preparing your application, to potentially avoiding barriers to delivering the project, please ensure you

  • check that you can get what you want from PECOS (and note the relevant supplier name)
  • are aware of who in your department/team processes PECOS orders
  • are aware of which NHS Lothian cost centre will receive the awarded funds
  • are aware who the budget holder and Management Accountant are for that cost centre (key contacts to ensure the right people know what the funds are for and to transfer any unspent funds across accounting financial years)

This guidance refers to when funds are paid across to NHS Lothian only but if funds are paid directly to a GP practice the existing financial processes/systems would then apply.