SCVO Warns Lifeline Services At Risk

SCVO has warned ‘Lifeline services at risk as voluntary organisations call for funding assurances’

Press released published 15/8/2022:

Third sector representatives have warned the Scottish Government that work done by charities and voluntary organisations cannot continue without multi-year funding.


Key public services could be at risk as new research shows a significant number of are seeing rising costs affect their ability to operate.

Research published as part of the Third Sector Tracker, a partnership project on behalf of groups including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (SCVO), shows the growing challenges facing charities and voluntary groups.

Data gathered in March and April this year shows that Spring 2022 saw the cost of operating increase for most organisations, impacting their ability to deliver core services.

Voluntary sector services are essential to the wellbeing of people in Scotland – particularly during trying times such as the cost of living crisis, just as they did during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the past two years the importance of Scotland’s voluntary sector has been underlined throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with the co-ordination of food and grocery support, alleviating mental health and wellbeing issues, such as befriending, and digital inclusion work to reduce isolation all carried out by the sector.

A large majority (86 per cent) of organisations also reported rising costs since December 2021, with the most common rises being:

  • Cost of materials and supplies (63 per cent)
  • Transport costs (53 per cent)
  • Staffing costs (47 per cent)
  • Energy costs (45 per cent)

Of organisations seeing rising costs of any kind, 42 per cent felt this affected their ability to deliver their core services or activities.

With groups across Scotland facing challenges, the three months to April 2022 saw just half (50 per cent) of organisations able to meet or exceed their planned programmes or services. A further 43 per cent were able to meet them partially.

Although many remain confident of continuing, SCVO believes that planned, multi-year funding is key to ensuring that vital public services provided by charities and voluntary groups can continue.

Kirsten Hogg, Head of Policy Research & Campaigns at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said:

“Far too many voluntary organisations are left wondering what, if any, funding they’ll receive to continue programmes and services from year-to-year.


“We cannot continue to see unnecessary expectations being placed on voluntary organisations that are not felt by their public sector equivalents. If the third sector is expected to continue providing lifeline services, this cannot be done without an ability to plan for the future.


“Core funding must be expanded to ensure that organisations can meet running costs. It is not possible for a service to exist without an organisation to deliver it. Organisations need flexible investment to keep the lights on, to innovate and to continue their critical contribution to Scottish society.”

Read the full press release here: SCVO

Ian Bruce, Chief Executive of Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) said:

“People are facing impossible choices due to the cost of living, driving them to approach voluntary organisations for support. The sector is responding brilliantly, but organisations face their own difficulties with rising utility bills and other costs.


Employees in third sector organisations also deserve well paid and secure employment.  Action on fair investment in the sector – which is adequate, long term and flexible – is now urgently needed to ensure that organisations can respond to rising demand.”


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