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£25m support package announced to aid Scottish third sector’s recovery

£25m support package announced to aid Scottish third sector’s recovery

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a £25m package of support to aid the recovery of the country’s third sector following the coronavirus.

Announced as part of the new Programme for Government this week, the Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme is designed to bolster charities so they can in turn support the country’s recovery from the pandemic, with the government refocusing part of the Communities Fund to create it. The new fund will include business support and investment to help organisations adapt their operations and income generation to increase their sustainability.

The Programme for Government document acknowledges the crucial role of the third sector and social enterprises and the hardship suffered as a result of Covid-19.

It states:

“A thriving third sector and growing volunteering is vital to Scotland. Its economic and social contribution is vast and as such it is an essential partner to Government. The Scottish Government invests around £500 million annually in the third sector, leveraging a turnover estimated at £6 billion in normal times. However, these are not normal times and the trading environment for social enterprise in particular has been severely constrained during the crisis.”

“Beyond the immediate need our role must be to create the best conditions for the third sector and volunteering to thrive and contribute to a recovering economy and society. This funding will support our third sector to continue to support people and communities in responding to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.”

The Programme also states the Scottish government’s intention to explore other strands of social investment including capital loans to further support the sector by helping organisations ‘work together and co‑locate as the demand for office space declines, whilst leaving organisations with an asset in future years to enhance sustainability, and ensuring that this benefits all areas, particularly those hardest hit by the crisis.’

The government will also build upon its work to support social enterprises and Credit Unions that provide financial services for deprived communities, launching the next Social Enterprise Action Plan by the autumn, and the Credit Union Strategy by the end of the parliamentary term.

The government’s review of charity law is also to restart, with its proposals to be published by the end of this parliament.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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