Eric Liddell Centre wants new parliament to consider unrestricted funds in grants programmes
An Edinburgh-based charity is calling for the next Scottish Parliament to urgently consider new models for third sector funding.
The Eric Liddell Centre, one of few specialist dementia day care charities in the capital, has set out its policy priorities in a new document.
Its manifesto is published after a year where the pandemic has placed a huge burden on Scotland’s health and social care services and all who work in them.
The centre is a registered care charity and community hub and its building has been closed since March 2020, meaning it has now lost £165,000 in room hire and other building related income.
John MacMillan (pictured), chief executive, set out his priorities in his overview of the manifesto document: “Like many charities and community organisations, the Eric Liddell Centre has had a difficult and challenging year. £165,000 is very significant amount of money for any charity to lose and recovery post-pandemic is going to be an undoubted challenge. We estimate, as long as we receive financial assistance, that recovery is going to take somewhere between 3-5 years.
“Despite this, we have continued to provide alternative services to the vulnerable people we support via outreach and online digital support.”
The manifesto highlights key areas of focus including support for the introduction of the recommendations of the Review of Adult Social Care (the recent Feeley report), adopting new ways to provide third sector funding, the continuous rise of the number of people living with dementia, the under-recognised role of unpaid carers who are often isolated and lonely and the role of the voluntary sector.
It urges a “call to arms” for the new Scottish Government and all charity funders to consider assisting the recovery of charities from the pandemic by building in unrestricted funds to their future grants programmes. In enabling charity grants to not be prescriptive in their uses and building in some flexibility to target funds where most needed to enable recovery.
The centre, as a significant provider of a specialist dementia service for over 40 years, fully supports the introduction of a National Care Service as the best means of providing the culture shift recommended by the Feeley review to a society “that values human rights, lived experience, coproduction, mutuality and the common good”.
MacMillan added: “Our vision is to bring Edinburgh’s communities together, to respond to isolation, loneliness and society’s disconnection. We work hard to change perceptions of people living with dementia, disabilities and mental health issues - we aim to show living a full life can be achieved with the correct support.
“As we move into the recovery mode from the pandemic we have a unique opportunity to see what is working well and also to examine the areas which are not and take bold and innovative steps to revitalise and adapt the service provisions that Scotland is going to increasingly need with an ageing population.”