Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund
The Community Stories Fund – delivered in partnership by Museums Galleries Scotland and VisitScotland – supported 180 organisations and community groups to take part in Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.
In 2022, a community-focused fund was provided to enable organisations and community groups to deliver small-scale activity as part of a Themed Year for the first time.
The Community Stories Fund supported 180 organisations and community groups – including 46 museums and heritage organisations – to host events that showcased stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland, as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories. Grants of between £500-£5,000 were available, through two funding rounds. The Fund was delivered in partnership between Museums Galleries Scotland and VisitScotland, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Scottish Government.
Supported projects explored a range of cross-cutting themes – the lives and works of iconic Scots, Scotland’s diverse landscapes, local myths and legends, and participants’ own stories – and engaged audiences through an imaginative mix of creative storytelling forms, from theatre and dance performances, film screenings, concerts, exhibitions and nature walks to traditional oral storytelling.
MGS and VisitScotland worked together to provide a wrap-around programme of support for grantees, to help them make the most of taking part in the Themed Year. This included one-to one support from a part-time Marketing & Communications Officer and an Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Officer, skills development webinars, a Marketing & PR Toolkit, the opportunity to list events on VisitScotland’s website, and the potential to be included in a national media and marketing campaign.
Explore the diversity of the Community Stories Programme with this short film.
The Community Stories Programme substantially increased the overall diversity and reach of the Year of Stories Themed Year, beyond what could have been achieved through the Open Events Programme alone (which supported 21 larger scale projects).
180 projects were supported which resulted in the delivery of over 1,000 events and activities.
The programme provided more than 5,000 artist opportunities, and over 900,000 audience/participant attendances were recorded.
Supported activity took place right across Scotland, in all 32 local authorities.
The programme enabled communities to come together post-Covid, providing opportunities for them to share the stories that matter to them and to showcase the talents of under-represented groups.
The programme elevated the stories of specific communities and groups, including telling the stories of Scotland’s LGBTQI+ communities, refugees, disabled people, island dwellers and more. Stories were told in English, Gaelic, Scots, Arabic and British Sign Language.
98% of funded organisations stated that taking part in the Community Stories Programme had provided benefits, in addition to receiving a grant. These were the main reported benefits:
- Expanded the reach of their activities or enabled them to reach new audiences
- Raised the profile of their organisations
- Supported them to strengthen existing partnerships or develop new collaborations
- Opened up new areas of work
Impacts of wrap-around programme
The wrap-around support programme saw a good level of engagement from grantees:
- There were 294 live attendances at 8 webinars, and a further 355 video views.
- 76% of organisations listed their events on the VisitScotland website.
- More than a quarter of grantees shared information relating to their event on the ICH Scotland website.
Feedback on the wrap-around provision was positive, with 94% of survey respondents rating the webinars they attended as good or excellent.
The dedicated Community Stories Programme marketing and media campaign provided significant added profile for supported events and activities. 159 items of media coverage reached people almost 4.3 million times and the marketing campaign reached people over 2,370,000 times.
The focus on Intangible Cultural Heritage within the programme was also felt to have added strong benefits. In particular, the focus on ‘stories’ provided a more accessible route for exploring ICH, which helped to boost awareness of ICH among grantees and wider partners. Read more about the impacts and outcomes of the ICH support for the Community Stories Programme.
The Community Stories Fund has demonstrated how a community fund can support and enhance the Themed Year – significantly increasing diversity and reach – and therefore provides a successful model which could potentially be built on in future years.
In addition to delivering events and activities during 2022, many grantees have also shared their stories in more permanent ways through publications, podcasts, films, walking trails and online exhibitions. Explore examples of rich legacy content from the Community Stories Programme via the below ‘Scotland in Stories’ blog post.