A guide to securing and managing funding






Funding can be a major challenge for most Sheds especially in the early days when securing and setting up the Shed. If you want to attract monetary funding, then there are some criteria we suggest you spend the time completing.

Your Shed at the very minimum will need to have a constitution and will need to open a bank account for funders to pay into. This means a Shed committee of at least 3 responsible named persons as Chair, Treasurer and Secretary to sign the bids.

Then your Shed if following the suggested SMSA guidelines will need to become a registered Scottish charity to open the doors to other types of available funding support – see: SCIO

Take it seriously
Bidding for funding should be treated like a ‘Dragons’ Den’ as competition for resources can be fierce. An online presence through a website or social media can also be useful in convincing potential funders that you are serious and they can see how proactive you are.

Make it relevant
Make sure your bid is relevant to the aims of both funders and your Shed. Different funders have different priorities. Once you know where your Shed wants to head, spend some time thinking about how you will benefit your local community as well as your Shedders. Some Sheds, for example, have received financial support because of their contribution to improving health, for recycling tools in their community or the need for people to be more socially connected in their area.

Keep asking yourselves the, ‘So What’ question.

If we have a Shed what difference will it make? Men will have a place to meet rather than go to the pub and drink or the betting shop….. So what?… Men will be healthier. So What?, …. Men will have independent, happier, healthier lives and be able to do things for longer as they age. So What? …. Men will see the doctor less regularly and save the NHS millions of pounds on prescriptions. So What? … this will create a huge saving in a shrinking budget, create less pressure on GP’s appointments and reduce waiting times.

It shows how your application will fit the funders criteria or not. Save yourself a lot of work and heart ache by asking the ‘So What’ question and make sure it’s relevant to their aims and your Sheds. It might feel a hard thing to do, but it’s worth it.

Work in partnership
Funders increasingly want to see organisations working in partnership, which makes a lot of sense anyway. Consider which groups in your area might be useful to consult with and develop ideas together. Even a simple letter of support from another established organisation can help to strengthen your funding proposal.

Be thorough
Applications don’t have to be full of clever sounding jargon but they do need to well presented, concise, coherent, well thought out for a clearly defined purpose and costed out carefully. For example, planning permission and building warrants already in place will ensure that funders will take your proposal more seriously. Have a look at some of our ‘Start a Shed’ example documents in the individual member section.

Be measurable
If you can measure it, you can manage it. Funders always want to see what impact their money will have in terms of your Shed making a difference so consider what your outcomes will be e.g. what will change as a result of your Shed and its activities.

Completing an application usually takes a lot longer than you think (but it is time well spent to do it properly). You may also need to wait for several weeks after a deadline before you know the results.

Types of Funding

Revenue funding
This is your ongoing costs like electricity, rent, insurance etc. Many funders want to see how a Shed will be able to become less reliant on revenue funding as they become more established and many Sheds do generate some income of their own through selling products that they make in the Shed.

Capital funding
This is usually for more one off material costs like a building, improved access, the creation of social space, promotional material, a computer etc.

Match funding
This is increasingly expected to be a bid. Remember that ‘in kind’ funding can be invaluable, your Shedders time and skills could be used as ‘match funding’ e.g. a Shedder who is a tradesman is worth say, £15 an hour as matched funding. Other skills, e.g. clerical, have their equivalent values. DIY usually offer the best value for fitting out as it is using the existing skills of your membership and is a great way to get people involved and to create a sense of ownership.

Restricted Funding
As the name suggests this will be funding which has to be used for what you have asked for. This type of funding is the main type available through the Big Lottery Awards for All etc. Simply put, what you apply for you have to buy.

Unrestricted Funding
This is funding which you can spend on anything of your choice to further the aims of your Shed and lies within your constitution. This is the best type of funding to acquire as some things like running costs is difficult to be had from main stream funders. You might achieve this funding from personal legacies, private supporters and from your own fund raising efforts. .

We have found its worth getting in contact with any funder before starting your application to check your bid proposal is of interest to them in principle. They might also ask you for a short basic application if you can’t speak to them. If they like what they read, they will ask you to submit a more detailed application. So make sure you don’t waffle and keep it to the point.


Support in kind
Often local businesses will find it easier to donate goods or services rather than hard cash. A local window installer, for example, may be able to donate windows or doors for a new Shed, meanwhile some larger stores like B&Q and Wickes may have local arrangements with Sheds e.g. ‘Tradepoint’ discounts, materials, etc.

Branches of supermarkets and banks have local charity awards and may allow Sheds table displays inside their stores. These can be great opportunities to raise the profile of your Shed, make new contacts and recruit new members.

Straightforward donations of cash can be a useful way to equip your Shed with the things you need. Sheds have secured donated income through personal contacts, legacies, house clearances, selling on Gumtree and a good old collection box.

Big Lottery Men’s Shed Funding Advice

Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s mission is to help communities and people most in need and they have a range of funding programmes which can support Men’s Shed type activity.

It’s worth checking their website on a regular basis to find out what funds are open or sign up to their e-bulletin to get regular updates on funding and events.

The main fund that they advise Men’s Sheds apply to is Awards for All Scotland:

Awards for All Scotland – this can provide funding of between £500 and £10,000 for up to 12 months to support activity which helps improve local communities and the lives of people most in need.  Funding can include new equipment or materials, improvement to sheds and transport costs.

If you’ve already received funding under Awards for All you can apply again however, priority is usually given to applicants that haven’t received funding in the last 3 years.

Another fund that might be relevant for some Men’s Sheds is medium grants for improving lives.

Medium grants for improving lives – this can provide funding of between £10,000 and £150,000 for up to 5 years to tackle loss, isolation and loneliness.  This funding is very competitive and applications to solely fund repairs or improvements to sheds or equipment will struggle.

Applicants need to demonstrate :

  • how their activity helps the people involved overcome challenging circumstances and become more resilient.
  • they also need to show how what they want to do is people-led, strengths based.
  • and connected to other organisations – practical examples of these are provided on their website. 

This document will help you Shed Fundraiser guys get a better understanding on using Evidence from Elsewhere: Gathering, analysing and using other people’s evidence. We have a lot of research documents for download in our Members online Resource Library which after reading this document can give you ideas how to use the info in these documents to improve your own Funding applications.  

Useful Links
General information, ‘how to’ and funders listings from –

Funding Booklet, titled Cash for Culture – You wont be sorry you read this!
Foundation Scotland

Funding Central

These are general listings with links to funders websites. Open4all has a free weekly updates list through your local 3rd sector groups, e.g. Glasgow GCVS

What our members say

In short. We already feel invigorated, more motivated, more active, healthier and indeed happier. Isn’t that what a Shed is about?- Bill B
Your advice and help in negotiating and securing us a lease has been invaluable. We wish you every success in developing the SMSA to the point that every area in Scotland will have a regional advisor.- Alan P
There have been times when the task ahead of us has seemed too much and without your presence to re-kindle our motivation we might have faltered.- Peter
Many thanks for such a fulsome conversation this morning. Both Lawson and I learnt a great deal from our chat and from your advice. Well Being!- Alan S

Men involved in community Men’s Sheds report living healthier, happier and more connected lives.

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