Lothians charity staff riding double bike while smiling

Small Grants

Up to £5,000 available to support patient-centred projects. Deadline for applications: 1 March 2024

Sometimes the smallest change can make the biggest difference to a patient’s experience; maybe a relaxing waiting area, specialist equipment, or activities to improve patient wellbeing.

If you have an idea for a project that will directly benefit NHS Lothian patients, whether in hospital wards and departments, or in community health services, and will be delivered within 6 months, up to £5,000 may be available through our Small Grants programme.

You can apply through our online application system, outlining the following:

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

If your project is for an Arts or Green Health activity or enhancement, please contact our team at least three weeks before you submit your application to discuss it. You can contact them by emailing:

Tonic Arts: [email protected]
Green Health: [email protected]
General Enquiries: [email protected]

Got any questions?

Check our Frequently Asked Questions below, or get in touch with our Grants Manager, Owen Siddalls.

Frequently Asked Questions

You must be an employee of NHS Lothian responsible for delivering services that directly support NHS Lothian patients, or employed by GP practices contracted to NHS Lothian. If you are 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.

Please ensure you have informed your manager about your application prior to submission.

For some projects you may need to work with other NHS Lothian departments and/or a third sector organisation to deliver your project. When preparing your application, plan in some time to discuss the project with those who you require support from and what that support might be so that if you are awarded funding then all those involved are aware of their role in delivering the project.

The Small Grants programme cannot fund certain costs, such as research costs, salary costs (specifically NHS Lothian or GP Practice employed staff), capital costs or services delivered which are considered to be core provision by either acute services or GP practices.

NHS Lothian Charity is committed to supporting staff development and wellbeing. However, for training courses, unless the 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 or ward and specific funds.

For projects to support staff wellbeing, you can apply to the NHS Lothian run wellbeing grants programme or ward and specific funds which include this within their fund purpose.

Applications on behalf of individual patients and staff (for example hardship grants) cannot be funded through the Small Grants programme. NHS Lothian Charity funds an income maximisation service for patients in acute and community hospitals, as well as a service for staff. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Retrospective requests for financial support (for example reimbursement of petty cash) will not be accepted. So please ensure that you have submitted your application and received your award before you start your project. If you have any concerns about your project timeline, or have a time sensitive project, then please do get in touch with us and we can explore how the Charity can support: [email protected]

Please also see ‘Who can apply for Small Grants Funding’ above.

If you are still unsure whether your project meets the Small Grants criteria, drop us an email before you start your application and we can advise: [email protected]

Small Grants are awarded four times a year. Upcoming deadlines for applications are:

  • 1st March 2024 – decisions made late March 2024
  • 1st May 2024 – decisions made late May 2024
  • 1st August 2024 – decisions made late August 2024
  • 1st November 2024 – decisions made by late November 2024

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

You can apply through our online application system.

You will be asked to provide details on the following

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

Unfortunately, we are unable to assess incomplete applications or those that do not provide a cost breakdown, so if you are experiencing any issues with completing your application, please do get in touch: [email protected].

We will normally keep in touch with you about applications via email, although sometimes it may be useful to have a quick discussion over the phone. You can state in the application form how you would prefer us to contact you.

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

Eligible applications are reviewed by a small assessment team, looking at how the project meets our strategic aims, in particular the level of patient benefit.

To enable us to fund as many applications as possible, before the assessment team meet, we review applications against all available charity funding options, including specific and ward funds.

If an available fund is identified, we will contact the steward of that fund to see if they approve the project to be funded from there. In order to increase the chance of your application being successful, please seek advice from a fund steward or manager in your area before developing your idea. If the Fund Steward decides that the request cannot be supported by the fund, your request will still be considered for Small Grants funding.

Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with feedback around the reasons for not providing funding, which we hope will help to improve any future applications either to NHS Lothian Charity or a different funding body.

If your application is successful, we will pay awarded funding to either an NHS Lothian cost centre or the GP practice, depending on whether you are an NHS Lothian staff member or work for a GP practice contracted to NHS Lothian.

It is essential that you work within the existing NHS Lothian systems and processes for procurement and follow best and ethical practice when spending your grant. Please ensure when calculating your costs you have liaised with the NHS Lothian procurement team or, for electrical items, the NHS Lothian estates team, to identify appropriate items and relevant costs. Please note that NHS Lothian standard operating procedures mean that purchases cannot be made from many high street providers e.g. Amazon, Ikea.

The above guidance refers to when funds are paid across to NHS Lothian only. If funds are paid directly to a GP practice the existing financial processes/systems for that practice would then apply.

No. Funding for patient Christmas activities, modest gifts and decorations follow a different process. Details of how to apply and when will be available on our website once applications open in autumn.

Deadline for applications – 1 March 2024

Here’s how some of our grant recipients have used funding

Creating Spaces for Staff to Rest, Relax and Recharge

We are delighted to have supported teams across the whole of NHS Lothian to create calm and comforting wellbeing spaces […]

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Providing comforts for families when they need it most

Within the Oncology department, we have supported NHS Lothian staff to establish a sanctuary for families navigating a terminal illness […]

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Elevating care for patients with neurological conditions or weak leg muscles

NHS Lothian Charity has supported physiotherapists at the Astley Ainsley Hospital with the acquisition of an Electric Arjo Walker, a […]

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NHS Lothian staff smiling with two therapy ponies

Enhancing Wellbeing Through Therapy Animals at Ellen’s Glen Hospital

NHS Lothian staff are supporting patients wellbeing through innovative approaches to care. Patients at Ellen’s Glen Hospital were delighted to […]

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Still got questions?