Humza Yousaf opened the second day of the SCVO Gathering.
First Minister Humza Yousaf has offered his utmost “assurance” that ministers will treat third sector organisations as equal partners in a speech at the Gathering.
The SNP leader was speaking at SCVO’s annual conference, kicking off the second day with an appearance and Q&A at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
The chief executive of the national membership organisation for the voluntary sector, Anna Fowlie, opened the session before Mr Yousaf addressed delegates.
The First Minister underlined the work done by voluntary organisations over the past few years, including during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “There’s been incredibly difficult times over the past number of years. My belief is that, in the most difficult times - the darkest times - humanity shines through. The third sector organisations that are here are the ones who shone through.
“Many organisations in this very room were born out of the pandemic, and the challenges they saw in their communities.”
The issues of funding for the sector, the consistency of grant-funding, were also raised by the First Minister in his speech ahead of the Scottish Government publishing its budget next month.
He said: “In terms of multi-year funding, we are working on the budget. I can give you a firm assurance that work, consideration of how we give you stability - we have instructed officials around the current process.
“That absolutely will include a greater number of two-year grants, and if we can go further we will seek to do that.
“There is a lot more to do. We have to go further, and part of that is listening to you.”
He closed by highlighting the role the third, public and private sectors all have to play in improving Scotland.
He added: “For Scotland I am very keen we have a closer relationship between the private and public sector. Economic success means designing an economy that works for people and planet, not the other way round.
“Whether you’re a volunteer, a tech CEO, a trustee, we all have a role in building a better future.
“Every contribution you make to the lives of those around you brings Scotland closer to realising its full potential.
“I want to end by saying that while we have made progress, we know there is further we have to go. I hope when you see the budget later this year it will give you an assurance that we are prepared to put our money where our mouth is.”