A new fund set up by prominent advocates for independence is seeking to award grants to grassroots campaigns as the country prepares for a potential second referendum.
The ‘Scottish Independence Foundation’ has been formed by Willie Wilson, former convener of the NHSforYes campaign, with an initial fund of £120,000 to distribute to nascent campaigns for independence.
Details of the fund were revealed in an interview that Dr Wilson gave to pro-independence newspaper The National.
Funds have already been distributed by the SIF to organisations and individuals, including an ‘ambassador’ programme ran by Business for Scotland, and a documentary episode created by Scotsman columnist Lesley Riddoch.
SIF says it is not affiliated to the SNP or any other political party, and it aims to be a ‘trusted custodian’ of the funds donated to it, and will channel money to ‘projects which will benefit the (independence) movement.
Dr Wilson told the National: “The next independence campaign will be won on the doorsteps, in the communities and workplaces, and through networks, real and virtual.
“A great hunger exists among YES groups all over the country; we want to feed these grassroots”.
Among the group’s advisory board members are actress Elaine C Smith and former SNP MP George Kerevan.
Grassroots pressure is believed to have been a contributing factor in the decision by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to ‘restart’ the independence debate with the launch of the SNP’s Growth Commission report.
Maurice Golden MSP, Scottish Conservative chief whip -
“With the economic case for independence in tatters it’s very difficult to see what the Yes campaign will be selling to people on the doorsteps.
“If these activists cared about Scotland at all they’d be campaigning for better schools, hospitals and roads, all of which are in a sorry state thanks to the SNP.”