Scotland's voluntary sector faces unprecedented financial challenges
Almost £1 million is to be made available for Scotland’s charities to help see them through the cost of living crisis.
The Edinburgh-based Bank of Scotland Foundation, has announced the additional financial support as the country’s voluntary sector faces unprecedented challenges.
This will enable the foundation to provide more grants throughout the remainder of this year, as well as providing extra support to current grantees.
Charities applying for funding through the foundation’s grants programmes are already indicating that their core cost expenditure is rising significantly and at the same time the number of people seeking support from them is rapidly growing as more and more people experience severe financial hardship, food insecurity, housing issues, redundancy, worsened mental health and fuel poverty.
All current foundation grantees have been offered a 10% grant uplift to help towards rising costs and ensure they can continue to deliver their services. It is expected that 179 charities will share £327,332.
As there is the strong possibility that some charities will not be able to survive the coming year, the foundation has also increased the budgets of its remaining programmes for this year by £650,000 to ensure more groups can benefit from its programmes.
The foundation has two grant programmes that eligible charities can apply to in the remainder of this year, and is one of the few funders to support applicationsfor core costs such as salaries, fuel, electricity and heating – some of the areas hardest hit by rising costs.
The foundation’s Reachgrants programme is for smaller charities with an income of £1m or less and offers £1,000 - £25,000 of funding over one year. Charities can apply for funding for their greatest area of need whether that be project costs, capital costs or core costs.
Through its Change grants programme, charities can apply for unrestrictedcorecostsallowing them to respond quickly to a changing environment and deploy resources accordingly. Offering significant amounts of funding, charities with an income of £500,000 - £5 million can apply for £50,000 - £100,000 per year, over one to two years.
Donald MacKechnie, chair of the foundation’s Board of Trustees, said: “Many charities have spent the last two years supporting their communities through the pandemic and in doing so, their budgets have been significantly stretched. Now, with reduced reserves, decreased donations and rising costs, the financial impact on charities is severe.
“The crisis is posing a real threat to many charities and we remain hugely grateful to Lloyds Banking Group for our donation of almost £4m in February this year, without which our work would simply not be possible.”
The Change programme opens to applications at noon, Monday 22 August and closes at noon on Wednesday, 31 August; the Reach programme opens to applications at noon on 12 September and closes at noon on Tuesday, 20 September. It re-opens at noon on Wednesday, 4 January 2023 and closes at noon on Tuesday, 10 January 2023.