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Anti-sectarian project funding fears

This news post is over 6 years old

Organisations which tackle religious prejudice in Scotland face losing their funding in less than a fortnight

A plea has been made for increased funding to tackle sectarianism in Scotland.

Groups that aim to tackle religious prejudice in Scotland will see their government funding run out in less than a fortnight.

This has prompted Scottish Labour to call for the Scottish Government to ensure that increased funding is announced imminently.

Last week, the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act – which was aimed at cracking down on sectarian at football grounds in Scotland - was repealed.

Some charities expressed fear that the change in legislation could lead to an increase in unacceptable behaviour.

Funding of £500,000 was allocated last year to 11 charities including Nil by Mouth, Sense Over Sectarianism and YouthLink Scotland.

Many of the schemes involve working closely with children and young people to increase knowledge and understanding of sectarianism.

However, that cash is due to run out imminently, prompting calls for more funding to kep groups and projects going.

Labour MSP James Kelly, who led the move to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, said that funding must be secured for anti-sectarian projects as a matter of urgency.

"The Scottish Government must listen to parliament, accept it has been defeated, and commit to re-investing in worthwhile anti-sectarianism schemes,” he said.

"SNP ministers can't respond by putting their fingers in their ears. They have an opportunity to refresh their approach and listen to the experts and that starts by pledging the cash for these vital projects.”

Kelly has said that a pot worth at least £1 million should be set aside to help continue grassroots work.

Community safety minister Annabelle Ewing said the government is committed to tackling all forms of discrimination.

She said: “This is why I made a commitment in the Scottish Parliament on 15 March to maintaining funding to deliver work to tackle sectarianism in 2018-19 and to providing a real terms increase to this.

"Since 2012, this government has invested an unprecedented £13 million to support the delivery of anti-sectarian education in schools, prisons, workplaces and communities through community dialogue, workshops, peer-led programmes, intergenerational work and more.”