As we reach the half-way mark of 2019, we thought it was a good time to look at what's been happening at the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust so far this year. Funds have been awarded to a variety of projects - from a service in mainland Scotland's smallest council area, to a UK-wide research programme - and the Trust continues to seek expressions of interest.

In February £29,845 was awarded to the Mediation Clinic at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, for the next phase of its Housing Mediation Project. The two-year project aims to contribute to a buoyant housing sector and reduce the risk of homelessness, through helping those living in private rented housing resolve disputes prior to or during formal legal proceedings. The focus of this second phase is to encourage parties to engage with mediation as early as possible in a dispute.

In May another two-year project was awarded funding from the Trust. Clackmannanshire Citizens Advice Bureau is to receive £38,710 for its Housing Advice and Mediation Service (HAMES). HAMES will see the Bureau deliver a specialist, dedicated advice service to tenants and landlords within "the Wee County's" private rented sector. The project aims to assist 100 tenants per year in gaining a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities in private tenancies, and to offer guidance to landlords regarding their own obligations.

Most recently details were announced of a ground-breaking new UK-wide research programme, which has been awarded funding by both the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust and the TDS Charitable Foundation. The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) - a consortium of 14 institutions led by the University of Glasgow - will carry out research projects on resolving disputes, tackling low standards and protecting tenancy deposits over the next three years. In the first year of the programme CaCHE will take a global look at dispute resolution and examine the principles, practices and approaches that could be applied to UK housing contexts to make it easier for landlords and tenants to resolve disputes.

All three projects meet the aims of the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust, which are: to advance education, particularly in relation to best practice in the management of private rented housing, and to legal rights and obligations which are of particular relevance to those who are involved in the provision or management of private rented sector housing or who hold tenancies within the private rented housing sector; to advance conflict resolution through promoting the use of alternative dispute resolution processes for the more efficient resolution of disputes between landlords and tenants within the private rented housing sector.

If you can think of a project that would meet these aims then the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust would love to hear from you. The Trust is currently inviting interested parties to submit an application ahead of its next funding round, the deadline for which is Tuesday 13th August. You can find further information - including application form and bid guidance - at www.safedepositsscotlandtrust.com