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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Putting the questions that matter to Holyrood hopefuls

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TFN's guide to charity election hustings

Scotland faces a crucial election in May.

There’s lots at stake in the Holyrood poll, which is still scheduled to go ahead as planned, despite the pandemic, not least Scotland’s constitutional future.

The country’s voluntary sector also has a lot of asks of the parties and politicians who will make up out next parliament.

As well as compiling charity manifestos, we are also asking organisations to send us details of any hustings they are holding in the run up to the election.

If your organisation would like to be included, send a link to your manifesto to TFN's Gareth Jones at


The fast-approaching Scottish Parliament Election on 6 May may be one of the most important in generations; as Scotland emerges from the pandemic, begins rebuilding from the damage wrought, comes to terms with a post-Brexit reality and debates its constitutional future.

As always, the big questions about how we deliver and fund crucial services, how we tackle climate change, how we protect and expand rights, reduce poverty, improve health and education outcomes, end homelessness, tackle inequalities - and many more besides - will be very much to the fore.

The voluntary sector will have a crucial role to play in shaping this future and delivering the progressive change we all want to see. But where do Scotland’s political parties see the voluntary sector in all of this?

Join SCVO and special guest host Brian Taylor on 8 April at 5pm. You can sign up here.

Confirmed panellists:

  • Patrick Harvie, Co-Leader, Scottish Green Party
  • Willie Rennie, Leader, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Anas Sarwar, Leader, Scottish Labour Party
  • Scottish National Party - To be confirmed
  • Scottish Conservative Party - To be confirmed


Young climate activists have joined together to host a youth climate hustings in advance of the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

The Climate Hot Seat has been organised by young people aged 13-32 representing seven youth organisations in Scotland. The event creates a space specifically for young people to hold party leaders accountable for their climate action and to give other young people valuable information in advance of casting their vote on 6 May.

The Climate Hot Seat event will take place on Friday 9 April at 5pm via video conferencing. It is open to young people from age 11.

You can find more information and booking details online.


Voters in Scotland are being given the chance to quiz politicians and make their voices heard on Scotland’s role in building a greener, fairer world.

Scotland's International Development Alliancewhich represents over 200 diverse organisations operating in more than 100 countries, is hosting an online Question Time event to encourage Scottish political parties to include commitments to global sustainable development in their manifestos ahead of the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections in May.

Scotland for a Fairer World: Question Time will be held on Friday 26 March at 6.30pm, chaired by campaigner and writer Talat Yaqoob. The politicians taking part are SNP’s Jenny Gilruth MSP, Minister for Europe and International Development, Scottish Greens co leader Patrick Harvie, Liberal Democrats environment spokesperson Liam McArthur, Scottish Conservative Shadow Economy Secretary Maurice Golden, along with Katy Clark from Scottish Labour.


The Scottish Food Coalition says there has never been a more important time to talk about food policy. The pandemic has emphasised the importance of building resilience within our food system.

The hustings will be chaired by Brian Taylor, former political editor of BBC Scotland. Spokespersons from the Scottish Conservative Party, Scottish Green Party, Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Liberal Democrat Party and the Scottish National Party will outline their plans and their party's policies for addressing the challenges facing Scotland's food system.

The hustings will cover four key themes related to our food system:jobs; health; poverty; climate and nature.

Join the coalition from 5.30pm - 7.30pm on 23 March and put your questions about the food system to the candidates. Register here.


On 2 February, BHF Scotland held a virtual hustings event ahead of the Holyrood elections in May 2021. The charity was joined by representatives from all political parties to debate its draft plan and the future of heart disease care in Scotland. Those involved where:

  • Brian Whittle MSP (Scottish Conservative)
  • Carolynn Scrimgeour (Scottish Green candidate)
  • Monica Lennon MSP (Scottish Labour)
  • Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
  • Cllr Elena Whitham (Scottish National Party)

You can watch a recording of the event and find out more on the BHF website.


Covid-19 has shown the distressing impact dying, death and bereavement can have on anyone, at any time. On 17 March 9.30am to 11am, Marie Curie and CHAS will be co-hosting a virtual Scottish Parliament Election Hustings on dying, death and bereavement where political party health spokespeople will be reflecting on the past year, and answering questions on the challenges which lie ahead. The charities will be joined by:

  • Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservatives
  • Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Lewis MacDonald MSP, Scottish Labour
  • Fulton MacGregor MSP, SNP
  • Scottish Greens Representative, TBC

More information and registration can be found here.

SURF’s Scottish Election Question Time

SURF’s 2021 Manifesto for Community Regeneration proposes actions the SURF network believe would improve place-based regeneration activities and outcomes across Scotland, including in the fields of land use, transport and climate change.

This online event will take place on the afternoon of Thursday 15 April. Representatives from Scotland’s leading political parties will be invited to respond to SURF’s Manifesto, highlight their party’s key regeneration policies, and answer questions from the SURF audience.

The event takes place from 2pm to 3.30pm, and you can sign up now.


Journalist and broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove is to chair a virtual housing hustings where members of the top five political parties will face questions from the public on bad housing and homelessness.

The online event is being held by leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland which is currently campaigning under the banner “Build Scotland’s Future” for 37,100 new social homes to be built in the lifetime of the new Scottish Parliament.

The event comes just weeks after new statistics showed that the equivalent of one household lost their home every 19 minutes during the pandemic and record numbers of children are living in temporary accommodation.

Cosgrove said: “I’m excited to be chairing this event on such an important issue ahead of the election. Bad housing and homelessness affect far too many people in Scotland. I’m looking forward to putting questions from the public to the candidates and turning up the heat until we get some answers.”

The event takes place online on Thursday 15 April, starting at 6pm, and people can register and submit the questions they would like to hear answered online.