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Destination South Ayrshire Grant

Funded by UK Gov Logo - DSA Grant

Destination South Ayrshire have a limited fund from UKSPF available for grants to be awarded to established community groups, businesses, charities and organisations (excluding schools and parent councils)  looking to carry out events and initiatives from 2nd October 2024 to the 31st March 2025. Proposals will require to prove the value to the visitor economy and or the benefit to the community. Eligibility for funding will depend on the nature of activities that you are engaged in and the type and scale of the proposed event and or initiative. There are two categories of grants - up to £1,000 and between £1,000- £4,950. 

Please ensure you submit your application by midday on 29th September.

The Assessment Panel will only review applications on

  • 30th September 2024

For information on  running events and initiatives and guidance notes  Event Toolkit & Guidance Notes (PDF) [754KB]

When you apply for funding from South Ayrshire Council, you will need to provide us with some personal information.

As the 'data controller' for the personal information - or data - we hold about you, South Ayrshire Council decides how your personal information is used/processed, and what it is used for. Follow the link below to access the statement which provides more details about this and information on how to get in touch with us if you need to know more:

Destination South Ayrshire Grants Privacy Notice

Destination South Ayrshire Fund Guidelines

This fund has been launched as part of the implementation of the Destination South Ayrshire Tourism and Events strategy, to support organisations to deliver events and projects which contribute to tourism and events priorities within the following offers:

Culture & Heritage, Including Burns

South Ayrshire has a rich and diverse heritage that has many aspects of international renown, most obviously Burns. Although Burns is a key attractor for many tourists, there is much, much more on offer, spanning our social, religious, military and industrial past. We will seek to raise the profile and the quality of presentation of our offerings in this category, making it easier for visitors to enjoy connected experiences in heritage, culture and ancestry, alongside complementary aspects such as food and drink.

Park, Open Spaces, Outdoor Activities & Natural Environment

South Ayrshire has a varied and accessible natural environment. The countryside, coastline and seas offer a rich variety of landscapes, wildlife, habitats and geology for the visitor to enjoy and experience. There are distinctive offerings and opportunities, such as the development of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, which is Scotland's first UNESCO Biosphere designation. There is great potential to develop infrastructure, facilities and build this offering in areas such as walking, cycling, horse-riding and water sports.

Sport, Leisure & Golf

Golf South Ayrshire operates eight superb courses throughout the region alongside the illustrious neighbours Royal Troon, Trump Turnberry and Old Prestwick, the birthplace of the Open.  South Ayrshire Council's Sport and Leisure Service operates nine indoor sporting venues including leisure centres, swimming pools and activity centres, and 3G/ all weather pitches. Sport and leisure provide economic benefits for South Ayrshire and hosting sporting events can attract income to South Ayrshire through additional spending, accommodation, and event fees.

This offer is already a core strength and attractor for large numbers of high-yield visitors. However, there is a growing level of competition from many other destinations and development activity is required to drive innovation in the way this offer is packaged and promoted to both domestic and international visitors.

Food & Drink

South Ayrshire has a great food and drink offer, with the very best of produce available to the visitor through shops, markets and a diverse range of eating options, including some of Scotland's very best restaurants. The food and drink offer complements other offers and plays a central role in delivering great experiences. Visitor expectations are centred on local, authentic, high quality produce, offered in ways that significantly reinforce a distinctive and enduring regional character. It is the second largest category of expenditure for the tourist and has become a key part of the 'entertainment' purchases visitors will make.

Weddings, Civil Partnerships & Business Tourism

South Ayrshire's offer performs very well, with a great range of award-winning venues for ceremonies and receptions in close proximity to Scotland's population centres. The area also has a good range of leisure, entertainment and retail options, which are important factors in selecting wedding and business locations. Business tourism is a relatively small market for South Ayrshire, despite the high-yield profile of business tourists. We have some excellent facilities already and will encourage further development to broaden our offer to strengthen our overall appeal in this demanding market. There is scope to utilise spare capacity within Council facilities for community or commercial use either on a seasonal, activity or geographical basis.

Digital Tourism

The internet is now an essential component of the experience that almost every tourist makes when they decide to travel. It is digital support provided to travellers before, during and after the travel activity. From researching to booking, experiencing the area, posting on social media and writing reviews. Digital tourism represents a new approach to the kind of experience that the sector can offer tourists and it can provide recommendations such as finding the appropriate accommodation to help the traveller plan their itinerary. In support a new tourism website has been launched which offers a free listing to any business and community which can be accessed here FREE listing of your Tourism Business  - Destination South Ayrshire

Town Centres

Historically, town centres have been a major asset for towns, both for locals and visitors alike. Over time, a number of town centre retail outlets have closed down and their role as a shopping destination has declined. This is a situation that is being experienced in towns across the country. There is a realisation that this trend is not going to reverse, so towns should be looking at other ways to reinvent themselves to make people want to use them again. Through our Thriving Places project, we aim to support our communities to identify local issues and develop plans to address these, ensuring our places are something we can all be proud of.

Events and Festivals

Events and festivals have an important role to play as a means of showcasing the very best South Ayrshire has to offer across all areas, and as a way to encourage visits and increase visitor spend. Within the implementation of the Destination South Ayrshire Events and Tourism Strategy, there is a need to develop and assertively promote an annual programme of events and activities, structured to maximise spin-off benefits to the wider local economy, for example, clustering events over a weekend or several days to encourage visitors to stay in the area.

We are looking for events and activities to be designed with a 'something for everyone' focus to help establish South Ayrshire as, for example, a family friendly destination with events and activities that will suit a range of ages and interests. The activities and programme of events must be equally relevant to visitors and accessible to local individuals and families and inclusive participation is actively progressed. The Destination South Ayrshire branding emphasises the focus of 'something for everyone' through the marketing of events and activities and the wider visitor economy sector.

Fundamentally, community based events and larger tourism based events will have different objectives and success looks different in each case. The report indicated that it was not appropriate to continue to support both types of events in the same way. Small local and community level events that deliver primarily non-economic benefits and larger regionally, nationally and internationally significant events that are drivers of economic activity within the region.

Supporting Tourism/Visitor Based Events

The larger tourism based events in South Ayrshire are those with regional, national or international importance within EventScotland's portfolio breakdown. These events will form the core of South Ayrshire's events offer and form its brand and image as a destination for events.  The support for large events that contribute to developing thematic areas where South Ayrshire has advantages will be a priority area.

We want South Ayrshire to be seen as a destination for holding large scale outdoor events and festivals, which will attract high levels of footfall and visitor spend into the area. South Ayrshire is particularly strong in key thematic areas including culture and heritage, natural environment, sport, food and drink and family friendly activities. Promoting and developing events within these themes will create the basis for a complete year-round events programme with smaller local level events filling out the calendar.

Supporting Community Based Events

Community events are characterised by small visitor numbers, a high proportion of which are from South Ayrshire, and focus on activities such as education, history and children's activities. While these events may not generate significant economic impacts, they do deliver intangible benefits and are valued by local residents.

They also help to increase awareness and build expectations and knowledge of the local events offer (so they can invite friends and family for example). SAC already has some of these support mechanisms in place, for example promotion of events on the Destination South Ayrshire website and associated social media pages, the publication of an annual events calendar and the events toolkit.

Marketing and promotional support table

Marketing and Promotional Support for Community Based Events

Support Activity


Access to SAC's media resources

Small events do not have large media or online presence

Cross event advertising

Help to increase event awareness to target audiences, linking events together

Informing local people

Increasing awareness, building expectations for annual events schedule

Reaching out to local businesses

Increase economic benefits

Assessment Criteria

Where councils fund partner organisations it is important to maintain control and accountability over public funds. This requires the ability to 'follow the public pound' across organisational boundaries - from the point at which money leaves the council to the point at which it is ultimately spent by the receiving organisation. We must ensure that the assessment process is transparent and robust and appropriate monitoring and reporting procedures are in place.

The assessment panel will consider the following when reviewing applications:

  1. To what extent does this event or project contribute to the Destination South Ayrshire vision and aims:


South Ayrshire will be a premier destination of choice, with an enhanced environment through social, cultural and economic activities.


Our aims are to:

  • proactively market South Ayrshire as a destination of choice; 
  • align events more closely with the region's tourism assets to build events with a legacy impact;
  • develop the area as a destination for holding large scale outdoor events and festivals, which will attract high levels of footfall and visitor spend into the area;
  • integrate town centres into our events and festivals to ensure we are driving footfall and increasing spend;
  • encourage and facilitate collaboration among providers to overcome fragmentation and offer stronger, packaged experiences, tailored to distinctive market segments through the Destination South Ayrshire approach;
  • maximise quality and focus on excellent service for our visitors; and
  • enhance our tourism offers and capitalise on opportunities.
  1. To what extent does this event or project contribute to one or more of the following key offers:
  • Culture and heritage, including Burns
  • Parks, open spaces, outdoor activities and natural environment
  • Sport, leisure and golf
  • Food and drink
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and business tourism
  • Digital Tourism
  • Town Centres
  • Event and festivals
  1. To what extent does this event or project contribute to one or more of the following South Ayrshire Council Plan Commitments:
  • Make the most of the local economy
  • Increase the profile and reputation of South Ayrshire and the Council
  • Enhanced environment through social, cultural and economic activities
  1. To what extent will this event or project deliver economic benefits associated with the visitor economy and / or intangible cultural benefits valued by local residents
  2. Does this event or project deliver value for money in terms of both costs and projected impact and outcomes

If your application is successful you will be required to sign a grant acceptance form and agree to our terms and conditions.

If you have any enquiries relating to this fund please contact

Apply Now

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