Skip to Evaluation Support Scotland content

Home » Supporting you » Evaluation Support Accounts » The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland (formerly Big Lottery Fund) learning support for grantholders

The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland (formerly Big Lottery Fund) learning support for grantholders

National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland learning support for grantholders is run by Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) on behalf of The National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland from November 2017 to 2020

Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) is delivering free learning and self-evaluation support to a range of National Lottery Community Fund grantholders in Scotland from November 2017 to 2020.


Our next webinar is Stats and Stories - 8th August 2019 Book here


What difference will this support make to me as a National Lottery Community Fund grantholder?

Learning and self-evaluation will help you tell the story of your impact to funders and help you improve and deliver even better work.

Grantholders will be better able to:

  • self-evaluate their work
  • use learning to improve delivery
  • demonstrate the difference they are making and
  • share their learning with others.

What support is on offer?

Grantholders can take up a range of support such as:

1-1 tailored support:

This is a face to face meeting tailored to grantholder specific needs such as: 

  • identifying and creating evaluation methods and tools that fit your work
  • making sense of feedback and data for learning and reports
  • embedding evaluation and involving the people you work with.

Let’s Evaluate! workshops

There are three workshops that grantholders can attend (one, two or all three) of the following workshops:

 Getting Started

  • clarifying the difference you want to make and what you need to evaluate 

Make to Measure

  • choosing the right evaluation methods and tools and developing a plan

Telling My Story

  • analysing data collected, using analysis for learning and reporting.

Online resources


Making it stick - embedding evaluation in your organisation - 1st October 2018 

Fit for purpose evaluation - 18th December 2018

Getting Ready for Reporting - 4th March 2019

Our next webinar is Stats and Stories - 8th August 2019 Book here


Workbooks cover the key information given at workshops and include exercises to work through. These can be used in addition to attending a workshop or instead of workshops. 

You can also access our resources here including method sheets and tools and our evaluation support guides.

Additional support, resources, and case studies will be developed in the future including:

  • webinars to share tools, approaches and learning 
  • peer learning and specialist events
  • new sections on the website will include emerging tools, methods, blogs and case studies, including in relation to the Big Lottery Fund’s three approaches.

Topics and dates will be developed in response to emerging grantholder needs. Keep in touch through this page.


How to get support?

If you are interested in accessing learning support please contact your Funding Officer at The National Community Lottery Fund Scotland. All support is free of charge to the grantholder. Once a referral has been made, the ESS team will discuss your support needs with you and agree how best to meet them.

Learning and self-evaluation support is not mandatory but is an opportunity to learn more about how your organisation and the service you deliver is working.


Involving young people in evaluation

Why bother involving people in evaluation - beyond feedback?BLF Why bother? workshop

Involving young people in evaluation

ESS is working with the National Lottery Community Fund to provide learning and self-evaluation support to their grantholders in Scotland.  This is the second phase of our learning programme on involving young people in planning or doing evaluation. We’ve learnt a lot from the first phase of the programme. We know that while it isn’t always smooth sailing, project leads have told us involving young people they support has helped their organisation as well as benefiting young people. Young people are fantastic evaluation problem solvers! 

In the first phase, young people told us that getting involved in designing evaluation questions and methods was:

"It was an honour to be asked and included in something that is ultimately going to help future service users"

"I felt like this was good and it’s changed my view of what you guys do for us"

"Designing our own evaluations makes us feel good"

"I had fun!"

The project leads felt that by getting young people on board with shaping evaluation methods had helped them gather more authentic and richer feedback as well as increasing participation in evaluation.

Case studies from phase one: 

Springhall and Whitlawburn Youth Development Team - Getting evaluation done without lots of moans and groans!

Gowrie Care's Streets Ahead service - The power of the emoji

Phase two

In the second phase of the learning programme we will be working with the following projects. 



Regen: Fx Youth Trust

Springhall and Whitlawburn Youth Development Team

Canongate Youth

My Place My Space

Perth & District YMCA



Lost in Transition


YoMo Health Champions Programme

Beatroute Arts

Beatroute Arts Youth Activities

Youth Highland

YOUth Led

Strathmore Centre for Youth Development

Community Connections

TYKES (The Young Karers East Sutherland)

In June 2019 we will come together and run a learning session, where we will support project leads to develop an action plan, using Why bother involving people in evaluation - beyond feedback as a guide.

From June to November 2019 – project leads will carry out their actions

In December 2019 we will come back together for a sharing the learning session


Martin Cawley, Scotland Director, Big Lottery Fund - Why learning from others is important

In the video below Martin Cawley, Scotland Director, Big Lottery Fund, talks about the importance of providing opportunities for grantholders to learn from each other.


More learning

Messages from The National Lottery Community Fund grantholders 

In February 2019 five grantholders came together with ESS and the Community Fund to share their evaluation successes and learning.  Their top tips for other grantholders are in this short slide show here.


Developing evaluation culture in your organisation - a challenge worth taking on!- Louise Bowwen, Knowledge and Networks Officer at Evaluation Support Scotland gives tips on how to get people on board with evaluation

Facing the fear of evaluation - Martha Lester-Cribb talks about overcoming the fear of self-evaluation with some simple tips to get started

Funders really DON'T just want numbers, honest! - Nicola Swan

Case studies

Nicola Swan, ESS Evaluation Support Manager interviewed some third sector organisations and funders to explore issues around improving relationships between funder and funded organisation. She has written three case studies to illustrate the learning:

Clear communication and constructive feedback - shows how the Big Lottery Fund supports the organisations they fund throughout the application and reporting stages.

"Doing something different to feedback to our funders" - shows funders how being flexible with reporting requirements can help funded organisations tell their story

Adapting project outcomes if things don't initially work out - shows how a learning approach can mutually benefit both funders and funded organisations


What is an indicator?

Explaining evaluation in one minute videos


  • What is an outcome?
  • Writing an outcome
  • What is an indicator?
  • Working out what to measure: setting indicators

View the above videos here


Related Resources

ESS support guide

ESS Support Guide 4b Reflective practice

Includes suggestions of ways to prompt your reflective practice and tools to get you thinking in a systematic way in ...

Evaluation method

Using case records

Using case records method sheet shows you how to make use of the information you collect during everyday practice to ...


Fit for purpose webinar

Webinar: Fit for purpose evaluation took place on 18 December 2018


Getting Ready to Report - webinar

Webinar: Getting Ready to report took place on 4th March 2019


Making it stick webinar

Webinar: Making it stick - embedding evaluation in your organisation took place on Monday 1st October 2018 at 10am.

Other Resources

Why bother involving people in evaluation? – Beyond feedback

This workbook can help you plan why, when and how to involve the people you work with in evaluation.

Share this

This site uses cookies. We use cookies to enable key functionality in the site, and to help us learn how you use the site so that we can keep improving it. By using our site you accept our use of cookies. You can learn more or continue.