Guide to applying for our small grant scheme

What’s the aim of the scheme?

To survive in Scotland, capercaillie need more habitat.

This grant scheme is for anyone who can help create more habitat for capercaillie in the Cairngorms National Park. Specifically it’s for anyone wishing to undertake locally relevant habitat work for capercaillie which is not currently funded by existing schemes. The scheme is also designed to enable smaller landowners to access funding to create more habitat for capercaillie.

What will the scheme fund?

Grants can be used to help cover the cost of machinery, equipment, materials and contractors required to deliver the following actions for capercaillie:

  • Removing non-native trees to encourage the growth of Scots pine and native broadleaves
  • Controlling invasive species, e.g. bracken, to encourage the growth of blaeberry
  • Blocking drains with coir to re-wet forest bogs
  • Providing grit piles and exposing bare ground
  • Creating brash piles and natural screening along tracks
  • Marking fences over 1km from an active lek
  • Maintaining fence marking
  • Controlling foxes and crows over 1.5km from an active lek

Got an idea that’s not listed above?

Please get in touch. We’re keen to hear your ideas.

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for a grant of up to £5,000.

Your application will be stronger if it includes match funding. But you can apply without match funding and request a grant that will cover 100% of the costs involved in the proposed work.

Can I apply more than once?

Yes. All applications will be assessed as part of a competitive process and judged on their merit and benefit to capercaillie.

Should I get in touch before I apply?

It’s not mandatory, but we want to ensure your application is successful, so please do get in touch before applying.

What are the key dates?


  • 15 March - Application window opens
  • 15 May - Application window closes
  • 15 June - Successful applications announced
  • 15 July - Permission to start work


  • 15 March - Application window opens
  • 15 May - Application window closes
  • 15 June - Successful applications announced
  • 15 July - Permission to start work


  • 15 July - All works must be completed in full and payments processed

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Incorporated groups
  • Unincorporated groups
  • Community groups
  • Registered charities
  • Public bodies
  • Business Associations and Partnerships
  • Individual businesses

What are the eligibility criteria?

  • The habitat work must be delivered in the Cairngorms National Park.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that it is not viable to fund the work (or fund the work in full) through existing schemes.

What are the assessment criteria?

  1. Will the work be fully finished before 15 July 2023?
  2. Will the work clearly benefit capercaillie?
  3. Will the work be of wider benefit?
  4. Will the work be managed and maintained?
  5. Can the work be monitored and evaluated?
  6. What’s the level of risk and can the risks be managed?
  7. Is the work considered good value for money?

What else will strengthen my application?

We will use the scoring matrix below to assess your application. The matrix outlines what a really good application looks like, so please use it as a guide.

Applications must score at least 2 for every assessment criteria.

Scoring matrix

On a practical note, if your proposed work could disturb capercaillie please state clearly in your application how you will mitigate this disturbance as far as is possible.

Can I get help to do some of the things you’re asking?

Yes. We recognise that smaller landholdings may have limited capacity to do some of the things we’ve outlined, so we’re here to help.

For example, we can help you to monitor and evaluate your proposed work. Or we can help you recruit and manager volunteers if you feel there’s an opportunity for volunteers to get involved. We’re ready and able to work alongside you on the ground wherever you need some extra hands, so please do get in touch.

How will my application be assessed?

  • Your application will be assessed and scored by project staff. We may call you at this point if there’s anything we need to discuss in more detail.
  • Your application will then be reviewed by the project’s Operational Management Team. If successful, the team will recommend to the Project Board that you are awarded a grant.
  • If your application is unsuccessful, we’ll work with you to review the reasons why.

What will happen if I’m successful?

  • A member of the project team will become your single point of contact.
  • They will feedback from the assessment process and work with you to respond to any recommendations from the Operational Management Team.
  • They will work with you at all stages of the proposed work, depending on the support you need. They could, for example, provide ongoing advisory support or undertake baseline surveys for you or ongoing monitoring work as required.

When will funds be received if I’m successful?

Our standard approach is to pay the grant once the work is fully complete and you have sent us proof of payment/s. However, we recognise that you may need some funds upfront. If this is the case, we will work with you to create a payment schedule that meets your needs.


Ready to apply?

If you’d like us to call or visit you to discuss your ideas, please do get in touch, and to apply for a grant, simply complete the online form below.

You can also download an guide containing all the information found on these pages.