Strategic Events and Festivals (SEF) Fund


Applications for the year (1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021) are now closed. (The closing date was 12pm on Monday 7th October)

The Strategic Events and Festivals Fund (SEF)- 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021

The Scottish Government has identified tourism and events as one of Scotland's most important industries, helping to create wealth and jobs and build upon our strong international reputation. The proposed fund is open only to organisers who are intending to hold strategic events and festivals in Argyll and Bute, that is events and festivals which contribute significantly to the culture, heritage and economy of Argyll and Bute whilst reaching a national/international audience.

A total budget of £90,000 has been allocated for strategic events and festivals taking place between 1st April 2020 and 31st March 2021 by Argyll and Bute Council. Applicants should note that applications to the SEF Fund will be considered and assessed through a competitive process. Based on the previous round of funding, it is anticipated that Round 2 (spend between 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021) will be oversubscribed, therefore the expected upper limit will be £5,000. Council funding should be considered as a last resort and therefore funding requests should be kept to a minimum. Please note no grant will be offered over 20% of the respective total event budget.

Consideration will be given to funding requests between £5,000 and £15,000 where applicants are able to show that by introducing something new to the event, the capacity of the event is substantially increased. Funds should be requested to support this additional activity, such as additional venue accomodation, new activities, increased infrastructure requirements such as generators etc. Applicants will also be required to demonstrate how theis additionality might help sustain the event for the long-term. If the event is new to the area, having been newly established within the last three years, applicants must demonstrate a unique offer that is not replicated elsewhere in Argyll and Bute.

Consideration will be given to funding requests of between £15,001 to £30,000 for exceptional cases. Applicants must demonstrate that over 10,000 people would be in attendance and over £1,000,000 (evidenced) will be generated in economic benefit to the local economy. Substantial evidence must support this request for funding and will only be eligible to large scale events which make a substantial impact on the local economy. 

Awards will be available from one grant pot. Please note applicants can only submit one application for funding per event. Grant funding will be awarded based on bids that are successfully scored against the criteria stated in the FAQ and where sufficient funding is available. The SEF Round 2 is a discretionary fund and, as such, please note, there is no appeals process.

Please note this grant application does not supersede the requirement to separately apply for licenses or permissions such as traffic orders, parking permits and landownership permits needed for your event. You MUST contact Roads and Amenity Services separately to apply for your event and ensure you have all required permissions in place.

There will only be one call for applications within this period and all applications must be completed in full and on time (including supporting documentation) submitted to the email address: by noon, Monday 7th October 2019, otherwise the application cannot be considered for funding.

Applicants can also post application forms and supporting documents to The Transformation, Projects and Regeneration Team, Argyll and Bute Council, Whitegates Office, Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8SY but these must be recieved by Monday 7th October 2019.

Submission Process

There will be one call for applications advertised on the Argyll and Bute Council website.

 If you have any enquires related to the templates or the grant application process, please see guidance below or alternatively please email and a member of the team will respond as quickly as possible. Alternatively you may find an answer to your query in the below Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) below.


Events and Festivals Strategic Fund timeline

  • 26th August 2019 - Applications open at 12pm Midday
  • 7th October 2019 - Applications close at 12pm Midday
  • Oct to Nov 2019 – Assessment process period
  • December 2019 - Applicants notified of decision


In order to be able to apply, you must demonstrate that your organisation:

  • Is a not for profit distribution organisation;
  • reinvests monies generated from the Event/Festival into sustaining the Event/Festival for the future;
  • is properly constituted;
  • has a bank account in the name of the organisation;
  • has provided evidence of affordability and, where appropriate, match funding
  • is open and accessible to the community that it serves;
  • demonstrates it is an inclusive organisation and will involve local people.

Ineligible Submissions

Applicants should note the following:

Only fully completed applications will be considered: Where an applicant cannot, or does not, provide all required information including up-to-date information, their application will be considered ineligible and will not progress to assessment stage.

Debts to the council: Applicants will be asked to declare that there are no outstanding debts to the council, beyond usual terms, in relation to their organisation.

Please provide answers to all questions and provide all supporting evidence by the deadline of midday Monday 7th October 2019 submitted to the email or above postal address, otherwise the application cannot be considered for funding.

Assessment Criteria

The criteria below applies to all application types unless otherwise stated.


All applications should meet the following principles:

  • The proposed event/festival location must be within the Argyll and Bute area;
  • The proposed event/festival must be held between the dates of 1st April 2020 to the 31st March 2021;

The SEF Fund aims to support events and festivals that have a strategic impact on the area. It will therefore fund events and festivals that can attract visitors from outwith the area and bring inward investment to the area; also those which demonstrate a good range of multiplier effects for the local economy and which market to a quantifiable target of our region visitors.  The fund is also looking to support those that can demonstrate a good return on public investment (leverage) and can demonstrate the economic, cultural, environmental, social and promotional value of the event to Argyll and Bute.  It is also worth noting that grant awards must not be used for ineligible costs such as the purchase of alcohol or gambling.


Assessment Criteria

Strategic Fit

Evidence event objectives align to the Council’s Outcome Improvement Plan 2013-2023;

Demonstrate fit with the National Events Strategy;

Define clear event objectives and vision;


Demonstrate that a significant percentage of attendees will be from outside Argyll and Bute;

Demonstrate that your event will attract attendees or participants from outside Scotland;

Economic Impact

Evidence expected visitor numbers;

Evidence visitor numbers for previous years;

Demonstrate the anticipated economic value of your event to the local economy;

Cultural/Sporting Event Impact

Evidence opportunities for the Community to get involved in the event;

Demonstrate the event is supporting an island community;

Show that the event will be held in an Area of Disadvantage using Scottish Index   of Multiple Deprivation data (SIMD Deciles 2016 map data) which can be found here;

Demonstrate that you have the appropriate PVG checks in place;


Demonstrate the percentage of your event marketing that is targeted towards an international audience;

Demonstrate the percentage of your event marketing that is targeted towards a national audience, ie. outwith Scotland;

Demonstrate the percentage of your event marketing that is targeted towards the rest of   Scotland, ie. outwith Argyll and Bute;

Provide evidence of how many years your event has been running;

Provide evidence of financial stability through provision of full audited accounts   for the past 2 years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020;

Provide a budget breakdown for the event and evidence of match funding;

Provide details on how you intend to manage any risk and a copy of your Contingency Plan;

Other event funding / support

Please note if you are applying to enhance your event, funding may be available from Event Scotland. Event Scotland funding is primarily provided for supporting new activity specifically designed to grow events. It can also be offered for marketing and PR costs in order to grow the brand and reach new target audiences as well as enhancing media coverage. Funding may also be offered to improve the visitor experience of the event. Please find out more at:

Event Scotland can also provide support directly and through external organisations. Here are some useful tools and resources to help you plan your event:

Please find a list of publications below, which you may find helpful when completing your application.

If your Event/festival is a smaller, more locally-focused event and does not have the greater strategic focus described above then you may wish to consider making an application to the Council's Supporting Communities Fund. The Supporting Communities Fund for 2020/21 will open up towards the end of the year. Anyone wishing to express an interest can email and they will be notified when the fund opens.