Driving Local Sustainability with the Royal Bank of Scotland Regenerate Fund

4 June 2024

In 2023, the Royal Bank of Scotland partnered with Neighbourly to deliver their Royal Bank Regenerate Fund, a £150,000 community grant fund aimed at supporting causes who are making positive changes to the environment across Scotland. The fund provided 50 grants of £3,000 each to community organisations and charities with projects focused on a range of sustainability and environmental protection themes.

As experts in community giving, facilitating over £30,000,000 of donations into the community and running large scale grant programmes including the 2023 M&S Gifts that Give campaign, Neighbourly was brought on board to deliver and manage the programme, working closely with the Royal Bank team. It was recommended that grants of £3,000 would be the optimal amount to empower community organisations to create impactful change through their environmental projects, as a large number of causes could receive a grant whilst ensuring that the amount was large enough to deliver a tangible benefit.

“The overarching goal was to help organisations or individuals in society make a positive environmental impact.”

Good causes with a focus on one of four categories - Energy and Buildings, Biodiversity and Natural Environment, Water and Waste, or Mobility and Transport - were invited to take part. This ensured that the programme was focused and communications were simple and clear. The overarching goal was to help organisations or individuals in society make a positive environmental impact.


Managing the programme from application to delivery 

Applications for the fund opened in June 2023 and remained open for 10 weeks, giving sufficient time for a wide range of applications to be submitted. Having promoted the fund through a marketing campaign including video, radio, billboards and social media ads, to drive awareness and applications, word of mouth also proved to be an important driver, creating momentum around the programme.

Hundreds of applications were received, which Neighbourly then assessed and shortlisted via our thorough vetting process with strict due diligence to ensure that the good causes put forward were legitimate and acting with a strong social purpose. Following this the Royal Bank team brought together internal and external experts to judge each category and 50 recipient causes were selected with the funds distributed throughout November and December 2023. In total, £150,000 has been distributed across 50 projects, less than 9 months since the applications first opened.

Utilising Neighbourly's network to drive local impact

Through Neighbourly's network and expertise in the sector, the Royal Bank Scotland was able to reach many grassroots charities and community groups that may have been otherwise inaccessible. This enabled the fund to create genuine local impact in communities across Scotland, as evidenced by the wide regional spread of projects over every postcode region, and support more than 58,000 beneficiaries. Some of the local projects included; the installation of solar panels on a village hall roof; expanding a bee apiary to provide more opportunities for local schools to engage with bee keeping; installing loft insulation at 19 Dementia Resource Centres; and upgrading buildings to be carbon neutral & more efficient.

For grant recipients joining Neighourly, being part of the network also creates opportunities for further support beyond this one programme. Many causes supported were new to the platform and will now be invited to access other funding, volunteer support and partnership opportunities available.


Grant recipients lead local environmental change

Each of the 50 good causes that were selected to receive a grant as part of the Regenerate Fund had a goal to make a positive environmental impact. We’re so pleased to already have some great feedback from the recipients on the impact it has had within their communities, demonstrating the importance of grant programmes like this one:

It has been another busy winter period. We are still operating in an energy crisis, although high energy bills are now normal. We have been able to help more vulnerable people than we expected because so many residents have come to us for support in the last few months. Clients tell us that speaking with an experienced energy officer gives them peace of mind.” 

South Seeds, Glasgow

Having new LED lighting installed in our care home has brightened up areas within the home that are windowless. These have made a tremendous difference to the mood of our residents who live with dementia.

Greenock Medical Aid Society, Greenock

This funding has been instrumental in our most recent phase of works retrofitting our facilities to become sustainable, energy positive spaces that can withstand the pressures of any forthcoming climate and economic impact. The commitment to energy positivity across both buildings is part of our long term ambition to champion the possibility of energy positive public spaces and the journey towards locally owned renewable energy generation.

Agile City CIC, Glasgow

The Regenerate Fund enabled good causes across Scotland to deliver impactful community-level environmental projects by distributing grants efficiently through the Neighbourly platform. To learn more visit