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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.

Report warns charities are being forced to act where public services are failing


Charities can't cope with increased poverty as public services fail

Findings from a Tory think tank warn that civil society leaders believe public services are failing to tackle poverty.

Drowning not Waving is the first report to come the Centre for Social Justice’s (CSJ) Scotland office.

The centre was established by ex-Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith.

It found that four in five Scots believe deprivation is on the rise, and charities are struggling to fill the gap in provision.

And more than 80 charity heads criticised public services, which they say focus on reacting to social problems rather than preventing them.

The report reveals some two thirds of folk in Scotland blame the increase of poverty on inadequate public services while the same number believed that charities have been stretched beyond their capacity.

Elsewhere, the findings showed that Scotland faces a mental health “epidemic” among school age children with “whole classes” being referred for mental health support.

About 70% of Scots, of the 1010 involved in the poll, said they felt mental health problems were getting worse in their community.

The majority of respondents said drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, availability of good jobs, and children’s educational outcomes were all getting worse.

Kenneth Ferguson, the head of CSJ’s Scotland office, said: “These polling results are damning and reflect the daily crisis Scots face every day in accessing basic public services. Thank goodness so many of Scotland’s hardworking charities have stepped up to try to fill the gaps, but it is not a sustainable situation.

“The Scottish government must do more to both support charities in their essential work and to ensure public services work as intended. It is unacceptable to carry on allowing charities to shoulder the burden of the Scottish government’s failure.”

Iain MacRitchie, the chief executive of the Glasgow-based MCR Pathways charity, which provides disadvantaged young people with a mentor, said “the maths doesn’t work” with reducing budgets and increasing needs.

He said: “It is time for our politicians to be honest and transparent. Talking prevention isn’t providing sticking plasters.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville, the social justice secretary, said: “The Scottish government recognises that the financial environment is extremely difficult for some charities.

“Like many sectors of society they are affected by sustained high inflation and the impact of economic mismanagement by the UK government, as well as facing increased demand due to the cost of living crisis.”



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