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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.

Third sector conference faces up to the running costs crisis

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CVS Inverclyde’s recent meeting provided a day of thought-provoking and impactful presentations

A Third Sector Interface has said its recent conference was a “huge success” as it looks to shore up the charity sector during the running costs crisis.

CVS Inverclyde’s recent meeting provided a day of thought-provoking and impactful presentations and workshops discussing the cost of living crisis and how it will impact both our communities and third sector.

Visitors were joined by Councillor Elizabeth Robertson, chair of Inverclyde Alliance, Community Planning Partnership and Tom Arthur MSP, Scottish Government minister for community wealth.

Cllr Robertson spoke about her roots in Inverclyde and she had a powerful call to action for all: “let's scream about the benefits of Inverclyde… tell others why this is where they should start their business or make their family.”

Tom Arthur MSP spoke on community wealth building in Scotland, saying: “I urge you all to be bold, ambitious and creative and challenge yourselves, and us in government, to unleash the potential of community wealth building.”

He was also asked about government funding for the third sector and whether this should be protected: "I recognise the huge challenges the third sector are facing… so much in our day to day lives that we take for granted is down to the third sector.

"We are at the limits of what we can do, our borrowing powers are restricted, our fiscal flexibilities are determined by decisions taken by the UK government.

"We will do everything we can to protect those services that protect the most vulnerable in Scotland.”

The second aspect to the conference theme was help the helpers: exploring how the cost of living crisis is impacting third sector organisations and what support is available.

Speaking about this were Kirsten Hogg, head of policy and research at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Stephen Cahill, special projects and regional manager in Scotland from Cranfield Trust.

Kirsten covered SCVO’s research into how the third sector is being impacted by the cost of living crisis and the support SCVO offers organisations. She told conference: “the word ‘permacrisis’ is often used: we’re still recovering from Covid, we have a cost of living crisis - third sector organisations have been on a knife edge for a long time.”

Following the conference, CVS Inverclyde CEO Charlene Elliott, said: “It was a brilliant event covering the most important issues our third sector is facing right now. We highlighted the incredible role charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises play in making our communities better places to live; and we’re also proud we spotlighted the impact the cost of living crisis is having on third sector organisations who are facing immense pressures too.

“I want to thank and praise Inverclyde’s third sector. It’s our strong relationship with the sector and our effective partnership working that allows us to fulfil our mission as a third sector interface: to connect and strengthen our sector for the benefit of everyone in our communities. We couldn’t have delivered our conference without your support.

“These are of course difficult times and I urge any charity or community group who needs support to get in touch with us to find out how we can help.

“I’m also grateful to all our guest speakers who joined us, we couldn’t have run our conference without your contribution, and you made the event a huge success.

“The variety and calibre of speakers who attended demonstrates CVS Inverclyde’s leadership in Scotland’s third sector and I’m proud of, and grateful to, all the CVSI team for delivering a fantastic event.”

More highlights from the conference can be found here.