Case Studies – Health

  • The Prostate Cancer Research Centre The Prostate Cancer Research Centre, based at the Institute of Urology in the University of London, was awarded a grant of £50,000 in November 2005 to establish the Barcapel Research Fellowship, awarded to senior scientist Dr Aamir Ahmed to manage a team of research scientists working on normal and cancer stem cells.

    The research programme aims to isolate and characterize prostate normal and cancer stem cells. The long term goal is to identify proteins on the surface of the cancer stem cells that can be targeted in order to kill the cancer stem cells.

    The Prostate Cancer Research Centre has developed a new method for isolating and growing the normal stem cells. In other tissues, such as the nervous system, stem cells can be isolated on the basis of their ability to grow in suspension as colonies. Normally cells die in suspension, but the ability to grow and divide without attachment appears to be another characteristic of stem cells.

    The development of colonies that can be serially propagated provides evidence for one of the fundamental characteristics of stem cells, the ability to self renew. The Centre has grown the normal stem cells as prostate spheres and shown that the cells stain for proteins that are normally only found in stem cells. The researchers are now applying the same techniques to prostate cancer samples using similiar conditions.

    In taking the decision to award the grant the trustees were influenced by:

    • the ambition and expertise of the principal people involved
    • their understanding of cancer development and progression
    • the fact the research was innovative and ground breaking
    • the trustees commitment to “pump priming” projects

    Since Barcapel made the award enabling the research, the centre has received further funding from other bodies including two R01 grants from the US National Institutes of Health for their stem cell research – these grants are rarely given to scientists working outside the US. But they said that “the group is clearly doing the very best work on prostatic stem cells in the world”. The scientific journal in which the work was published described the results as “the best bet yet to represent the true prostate stem cell”.

Case Studies – Heritage

  • The Scottish Civic Trust The Scottish Civic Trust was founded in 1967 and is Scotland’s only voluntary organisation working to raise the quality of the whole built environment. They encourage excellence in the conservation of the past, in contemporary architecture and planning and in effective public education and participation in all these concerns.

    The Trust operates from its headquarters, the A-listed Tobacco Merchants House, the last surviving tobacco laird’s house left standing in the Merchant City of Glasgow. It required extensive renovation and restoration in 1997 and the Barcapel Foundation loaned the Scottish Civic Trust £100,000 in order to get this work underway.

    Whilst it is unusual for Barcapel to make a loan rather than award a donation, in this instance it was deemed appropriate. The loan was interest free which alleviated the SCT’s financing costs, and the commitment of £100,000 in place encouraged other trusts and charitable foundations to donate, ultimately culminating in the award of a substantial lottery grant.

    The trustees decision was based on:

    • The SCT’s commitment to enabling everybody to have a say in decisions affecting their physical surroundings
    • The historical importance of the Merchant’s House as part of Glasgow’s Merchant City
    • The desire to lead the funding, encouraging other bodies to follow
    • The SCT’s willingness to accept alternative sources of funding – in this case a loan

Case Studies – Youth

  • The Mark Scott Leadership for Life AwardThe Mark Scott Foundation was formed in 1996 in memory of Mark Scott, the 16 year old Glasgow schoolboy who was murdered in 1995 in an unprovoked sectarian attack.

    Since its inception the Foundation has made over 400 awards to individual young people living in or closely connected with Scotland.  In relation to this its first stream of activity awards have included young people who volunteered to work in community projects in India, Africa and the Far East and young people who required funding to develop their talents in other ways, for example a violinist studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, a golfer attending College in Texas and an Opera singer training in Holland as well as many people studying in the UK.

    Following an independent review the Mark Scott Foundation Trustees decided to concentrate solely on its second stream of activity – The Mark Scott Leadership for Life Award. This was first trialed in 1998 and since then more than 600 young people have taken part. The Award:

    1. helps develop the talents of young people
    2. benefits local communities through delivering a project for them and
    3. addresses sectarianism and other socially divisive influences in a subtle way

    The foundation launched Phase 2 of the Award which aims to make the Award available across Central Scotland with a target of 500 participants each year by 2010, and applied to Barcapel for assistance with funding.

    The Trustees of Barcapel were unanimously impressed by:

    • the professionalism of both the organisation and the application
    • the philosophy of bringing people together from different backgrounds
    • the aims of the foundation in nurturing young talent
    • the fact that the Award had achieved a lot in a relatively short time
    • the fact the foundation had a strategic vision and a measurable target