Ian Bruce on Glasgow Communities Fund Recommendations

“Last week Glasgow City Council announced their recommendations for funding from the Glasgow Communities Fund 2023-2026. The Glasgow Communities Fund is the Council’s biggest investment in the capacity of the third sector to improve the lives of citizens.  This is the second round of the Glasgow Communities Fund, which previously ran from 2020-2023, and before that the Council ran a programme called the Integrated Grants Fund. We welcome the Council’s ongoing commitment to funding the work voluntary organisations do to improve lives in the city.


Some voluntary organisations have had their applications for funding declined and most of those that have been awarded funding will receive less than they asked for. We appreciate the challenge that Councillors and Council Officers faced. The money available in the fund is insufficient to tackle poverty and deep-rooted inequalities that Covid-19 not only laid bare but exacerbated, and at a time of significant challenge due to the cost-of-living crisis. There were significantly more applications than could ever have been funded and difficult decisions needed to be made. It is part of the role for elected Councillors to determine which services they wish to fund in line with their priorities, and to be accountable for their decisions to the electorate.


The fund is regarded as funding for voluntary organisations, but really it is money to support the city’s citizens – especially the most disadvantaged. GCVS, like many others, are concerned that some of the services whose applications were unsuccessful deliver lifeline services for people whose quality of life is dependent upon them. The risks associated with the ending of funding for these services are significant and the potential consequences unthinkable. We know that people who aren’t supported by the third sector will often require more support at far higher cost from the public sector when they reach crisis. If alternative funding cannot be found for such services, then there must be a plan to help people transition to other forms of support.


Going forward, we believe that some services funded through the Glasgow Communities Fund are basic services that citizens expect to be in place – they expect the Council to deliver them or to fund voluntary organisations to so. This year the Council recognised that financial inclusion services were critical for the people of the city and separated them from the fund. As we collectively review this application process, we would urge Councillors to consider whether other services are also so essential that competitive funding processes are not appropriate for them.


This week I met with the lead Councillor for the Glasgow Communities Fund to raise these issues. We will continue to work with both Glasgow City Council and Glasgow City HSCP to ensure that citizens are supported.”


Ian Bruce

Chief Executive, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector


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