Blue Sky Grants Made

Details of Blue Sky and Large Grant Awards in Progress or Completed

– Including Reports from Projects in Prior Years

Note: Until 2021 we used the term Large Grants for our major awards but from 2022 we changed focus and adopted the term Blue Sky Grants to stress that we are seeking to support blue sky thinking by charities that apply to us for these awards. Our Large Grants were generally for £20K (though we appreciate this is not large compared to some funders). Our Blue Sky Grants are normally for £25K.

2023: Christian Reflection on Scotland’s Constitutional Future

For our 2023 Blue Sky Grant we invited proposals that will support the process of Christian Reflection on Scotland’s Constitutional Future – focusing on the current debates around independence – which are now expected to come to a head in the 2024 General Election.  However, we stressed this is much more than a simple yes/no question. See the invitation to bid for full details.

We said that the project should engage with the key themes that are central to the independence debate and the arguments for Scotland’s place in the UK, but in all cases with a focus on enabling both sides to be heard in a context of Christian reflection. A key aim will be to help Christians relate their faith to the decisions they take when voting and/or engaging with politicians, bearing in mind our calling as stewards of all that God has created and our responsibilities to order human society in accordance with Christ’s teaching.

We are delighted to announce that this Blue Sky grant of £25,000 was awarded to the University of Glasgow (Theology and Religious Studies) for a project being led by Revd Dr Doug Gay and Prof Heather Walton – see the press release for details.

The project is running across the year April 2023 to March 2024 with a range of events to be held across Scotland in autumn 2023 and early 2024.  For more details see the project website:

2022: Mental Health of Young People in Scotland

In October 2021 we invited proposals for our first Blue Sky Grant of £25,000 (to be awarded in 2022) that would, in some way, benefit the Mental Health of Young People in Scotland.  See the invitation to bid for details: our criteria were very broad.

We received a number of interesting proposals. After discussion by the Paristamen trustees and further liaison with the applicant, a grant of £25,000 was awarded to the Moira Anderson Foundation for a project to develop an animated film with young people who had experienced sexual abuse.

The film is entitled The Woods and can be viewed from that link – it was launched on 18 Agust 2022.  As part of the project, it has widely promoted to reach many other young people with the aim of prompting them to seek help.

Moira Anderson Foundation have produced a comprehensive final report on the project which we are delighted to share. The report includes a detailed financial breakdown of how the grant was used.

2021: Christian Hope in a Post-Covid Scotland

For our 2021 large grant, the trustees invited bids for an imaginative project under the heading: Christian Hope in a Post-Covid Scotland.

We received a range of interesting proposals.  Following extensive discussions, the trustees decided (unusually) to split the 2021 large grant award into two grants of £10,000 each.  These were awarded (i) to The Cairn Movement to support a major new training programme equipping Scottish churches greatly to expand and develop their outreach work with a focus on Christian hope at this time and (ii) to the Glasgow-based Christian charity Street Connect for a programme of training staff and volunteers to work as counsellors supporting some of the must vulnerable people (often affected by substance abuse) in a wide range of communities in the Glasgow area.

Here is the final report from Street Connect and the final report from The Cairn Movement.

2020: Support to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Scotland

For our 2020 large grant, the trustees were delighted to invite bids for a one-off £20,000 grant in the field of Action to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Scotland.

For full details please see the invitation to bid. We were pleased to receive seven applications. Although we normally make large grants as a single award, we had two bids that were both extremely strong in different ways. After extensive discussions, the 2020 grant was split into two elements.  A grant totalling £5,885 (payable in two stages) was awarded to Govan Community Project in Glasgow, for a project supporting asylum seekers with ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) which adapted to a remote teaching approach in the light of the coronavirus crisis.

In addition a grant of £14,000 was award to the Scottish Refugee Council for a project Speaking up for refugee rights.  The aim was to enable SRC to engage more proactively with the media to ensure a strong and influential voice on refugee rights, and thereby to achieve better policy decisions and improved understanding of asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland.  The grant (which was supported by further funding allocated by SRC itself) enabled SRC to appoint an additional full time member of staff for the first half of 2021. The final report of the project shows the enormous difference that this award made to SRC’s media engagement on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers.

2019: Support for a Specialist Medical Condition

For the 2019 large grant, the trustees made a £20,000 grant to a charity focused on a specialist medical condition that currently receives little funding.  After discussions in principle and a detailed application, the grant was been awarded to the charity Hoarding UK which provides specialist help (UK wide) to those affected by hoarding disorder and professionals dealing with those affected.  Our grant comprises a £5,000 unrestricted grant to support building the capacity of Hoarding UK as a charity and a £15,000 project grant (payable in instalments) to support expansion and development of the Hoarding UK’s helpline and advocacy services.  Hoarding UK’s final report confirms that the projects supported by Paristamen were very worthwhile in enhancing the charity’s work.

2018: Community Cohesion in Yorkshire in the lead-up to Brexit

In January 2018 Paristamen invited bids for a single grant of £20,000 to a charity able to lead a significant project under the umbrella heading of Community Cohesion in Yorkshire in the lead-up to Brexit. We said that the project should be delivered in the year 2018/19, leading to a high profile conclusion on or shortly before 29 March 2019 when the UK was expected to leave the European Union under the Article 50 process.

We received a number of bids, and following careful evaluation and further discussions the grant was awarded (in three instalments) to the Bradford-based charity Artworks Creative Communities (ACC) for a project to make a documentary film including interviews and discussions across the Yorkshire region, seeking to bring together those on different sides of the debates around Brexit in sessions described as “Brexit cafes”.  The project, entitled EU Bah Gum! has its own website: it used volunteers teams to undertake the filming, under the supervision of Camershy CIC.  The film was officially launched at an event in Bradford on 21 March 2019 and received coverage on BBC television and a wide range of media.

The film EU Bah Gum! – Yorkshire voices on Brexit is now available via Youtube (50 mins) for anyone to view: we believe it will be a very useful resource to anyone looking to develop dialogue and reconciliation around views on Brexit and its impact.  A final report on the project was received from ACC at the end of March 2019.

2017: Conflict Resolution and the Refugee Crisis

For our 2017 large grants programme we invited bids for a single grant of £20,000 for a project in the field of Conflict Resolution and the Refugee Crisis.  We indicated that the trustees were looking to support a charity with a strong track record of international work in a country or countries experiencing major conflicts, where the impact of that conflict is so serious that significant numbers are forced to flee as refugees.

Ten applications were received: in terms of the regions, one application was for work in Yemen, one in Iraq, two in Syria, two in Lebanon (working with Syrian refugees), one in Northern Uganda, one in DRC, one in Palestine,and one in South Sudan (as awarded).  These were carefully reviewed by all three trustees.  In March 2017 the trustees announced that a £20,000 grant had been awarded to CAFOD for a short term project working with refugees (especially girls and women) in South Sudan.

A final report on the project was received from CAFOD in November 2017.  The trustees also sought further explanations from CAFOD on the finances of the project once it was concluded and these were received.

2016: Christian Perspectives on Death and Dying

The trustees were delighted to confirm in June 2016 that, following an open invitation to submit bids, the Paristamen CIO made its first ever “large grant” offer for £20,000 – four times larger than any previous grant.  The award was  to Cardiff University to lead a project on Christian Perspectives on Death and Dying.   A further grant of £2,500 was subsequently made to the same project for the launch of an online resource.

The project is providing opportunities for Christians from a wide range of backgrounds and different churches to explore issues around death and dying, following the requirements stated in our invitation to bid (see link below).  The project is XnDyingLogo led by Prof Jenny Kitzinger (Professor of Communications Research) at Cardiff University together with Julie Latchem MSc, BSc, MCSP as Project Co-ordinator.

Six conferences took place around various locations in England and Wales during 2016/17 and the online resource was launched at an event in London in October 2017.  This provides a wide range of tools and resources (audio, video, slides, guidance, reports) to enable others to organise conferences and workshops that will enable Christian groups to engage with ethical debates around death and dying.  The final report of the project (PDF 2.3MB, 9 pages) is also available here – but those interested are recommend to access the full resource site.

Background: We invited bids for a £20,000 grant from charities with relevant expertise on death and dying issues to launch a significant new project to promote debate by churches and individual Christians on these issues – including the key legal and ethical issues.  For the invitation to bid (now closed) please click here (PDF 5 pages).

Note: Although this award was made to a university, and may enable the team to produce research outputs in due course, our grant is not specifically a research grant – rather the focus is to support Christian activities and events for reflection and discussion on death and dying issues and the development of related resources.