Dundee Community Grants (DCG) is a brand new not-for-profit initiative set up to raise funds to help charities, groups and individuals in the Dundee area.
We are committed to help the development of new community projects and support existing community activities in Dundee by ways of funding grants.
DCG is funded by raising money in our shop in The Wellgate Shopping Centre, donations from individuals and specific fundraising events.
The idea for this initiative came from Shop Manager Paul Smith who has 25 years working in the charity sector. Here he tells us all about the plans.
"I have worked in charity retail since 1995, it's something i feel passionate about, a real calling if you will. I feel proud that the work I do makes a difference to people's lives. You certainly don't get that in every job."
Although his background is in the charity sector, Paul is keen to point out that DCG is a not-for-profit company.
"We are not-for-profit, which basically means that all the profits we make go to good causes. I took advice from OSCR, Office Of The Scottish Charity Regulator, and they suggested as we are just small that going down the not-for-profit route was best for us. It basically means we can set up more quickly and easier which would not happen if we went for charity status. That said we make sure we adhere to the Code Of Fundraising Practice as set out by the Fundraising Regulator."
Paul has worked in Dundee as manager of a charity shop for many years so may be well known to charity shoppers.
"Since 2009 I have worked in Dundee as manager of the St Margaret Of Scotland Hospice charity shop, initially in Reform St then latterly The Wellgate. In fact the new DCG shop is where the hospice shop was. For almost 12 years the people of Dundee were very supportive of our shop and I hope that loyalty will continue with our new venture."
So what was the idea behind setting up this new shop?
"Well, sadly the Covid situation had a bad effect on the hospice and they decided to close all their shops. I fully understood this but was obviously upset at the thought of losing a great job and a successful business. So I came up with the idea of setting up a shop on my own. The Wellgate Centre have been very supportive and keeping my original shop was a real bonus."
Having made that decision, how did you come up with the idea of DCG?
"It was a no brainer really. It's something I had been thinking of for years. I wanted the money we raised to help local causes and projects. It's like my way of paying Dundee back for all those years of support."
So How will it work?
"We will raise funds through our shop in The Wellgate, which has been very successful for us, and will also be doing specific fundraising events throughout the year. Our aim is to have a yearly fund of £20,000 to distribute to good causes. We will release funding every month with grants ranging from £500 to £1000 for each cause. The grants are intended to support projects, not fully fund them. I'm sure there are many groups and charities that would be very grateful for that. To be eligible to apply you must be an individual, registered charity or a local group based in Dundee or within 5 miles of the city wanting to provide benefit for your local community."
Who can apply for a grant?
"Any local community groups, schools and charities are all welcome. As are any individuals who have a plan to help the community. Obviously we need full proof of the projects, costings and time-scale. This is all set out in the application form. Once an application is submitted it will go before our committee who will make the final decision. Our committee consists of myself and three individuals who are not connected to the running of the shop.
Once a decision is made the money will be transferred - and everyone's happy!
I would like to add that we will not fund groups or organisations which exist to promote one political or religious opinion to the exclusion of others, or anything we deem immoral or illegal."
Applications for grants can be made here.