This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for core features such as voting on polls and comments. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

Get TFN updates
The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Revitalising “sleepy trusts” could release millions for public benefit


Foundation Scotland and OSCR will work together to revive around 400 dormant trusts in Scotland

Unlocking so-called "sleepy trusts" could result in millions being unlocked for communities.

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and Foundation Scotland have revealed they’re preparing to launch a brand new project which could unlock additional funding for charities and other community and voluntary groups across Scotland.

The Revitalising Trusts project aims to identify charitable trusts registered in Scotland that appear to be inactive and support them to reactivate by using funds that are lying dormant. 

Charitable trusts typically provide public benefit by making grants or donations to other charities, voluntary groups or individuals.

So-called "sleepy trusts" are identified as charities that have either had no income or expenditure over the last five years or have donated less than 30% of their total income over the last five years to help good causes. The project will also look at charitable trusts that have failed to submit annual accounts and reports to OSCR within the last five years.

Whilst the full value of Scotland’s "sleepy trusts" has yet to be established, a similar programme was launched by the Charity Commission in England in 2018 which has so far revitalised £32 million. With support from local community foundations, this is now providing targeted and local support for the voluntary sector thanks to the creation of new local funds.

There are over 3,400 charitable trusts on the Scottish Charity Register and OSCR’s initial findings have identified around 400 that may not be using their funds to full effect.

Chief executive Maureen Mallon said “The public expects charities to use their funds to fulfil their charitable purposes and deliver public benefit, but sometimes charity trustees need a little help or encouragement to do so. If trusts are underperforming, we want to find out why and, through our partnership with Foundation Scotland, to offer assistance or a wake-up call where necessary.”

Chief executive of Foundation Scotland Giles Ruck said “This is an exciting opportunity to modernise many historic trusts, and revitalise others, and enable them to invest in our communities once again. We work with registered and unregistered voluntary and community groups all over Scotland. We will ensure revitalised funds can also provide support to the smaller, lesser-known community groups working on the frontline across Scotland’s communities”

The Revitalising Trusts project is expected to launch in April following the appointment of a project advisor.

The role of the advisor will be to identify inactive trusts and then support these trusts in their reactivation or reorganisation so that they can deliver public benefit once again.



0 0
Ewen Rennie
18 days ago

Fully support this. Any charity spending less than 50% (or possible more) on its core functions should be wound up. Charities set up in memory of a particular person should be considered for amalgamation with a larger charity with similar aims after a set period (five years)?