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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.

Triple hit as charities and third sector projects announce closure


Funding challenges have contributed to the closures, which will come into effect next year.

A charity-run programme aimed at changing public behaviours on car use has announced it is to end next year after public funding was withdrawn. 

Paths for All announced that its Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) grants programme will cease to exist past April 2024 after Transport Scotland  made the decision to no longer fund the project. 

The programme and its Open Fund, Local Authority Fund and Active Nation Fund, aims to encourage people to change their behaviour to drive less and to walk or cycle as part of their everyday short journeys or to use public transport for longer journeys.

The fund was available to support public, third and community sector organisations to help cut Scotland's carbon emissions and improve our air quality, and also help reverse the trend towards sedentary lifestyles, tackling health inequalities.

Announcing the end of the programme, Paths for All said: “Today we are sharing the difficult news that Transport Scotland have made the decision to no longer fund Paths for All’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) grants programme. This means that the programme and its Open Fund, Local Authority Fund and Active Nation Fund will cease to exist past April 2024.

“We thoroughly appreciate this news will bring uncertainty to those in the sector, and in particular the communities that we support who are working hard on the ground to increase active and sustainable travel. They have contributed to the positive shift to make Scotland a happier, healthier and greener place to live and work. 

“We would like to especially thank these projects who have worked tirelessly to scale up walking, wheeling and cycling and the use of sustainable transport modes within their communities.

For existing SCSP-funded projects, their 2023-24 grants will not be affected, with the Open Fund remaining open for applications until the end of February 2024.

Since it was launched in 2015, the programme has supported hundreds of active and sustainable travel projects across Scotland. 

The charity added: “We are proud of the legacy of the programme and the impact of the projects we have supported, that have positively changed behaviours, attitudes and lives during the last eight years. 

“As Scotland’s national walking charity, we at Paths for All will continue to make the case for funding of active travel behaviour change, which Transport Scotland has identified as an important part of its future delivery model.  

“Paths for All will step forward, continuing our focus on walking and wheeling as the foremost modes of transport for short journeys. Walking has the potential to bring about transformational change to reduce transport emissions, while improving health and wellbeing for everyone.”

The announcement comes as a leading cross-sector group is to close after almost a decade leading work on wellbeing evidence, policy and practice. 

The Board of Directors of charity What Works Wellbeing has announced they will close on 30 April 2024., citing a “challenging funding environment”. 

The centre said its priority is to complete its programme of work by the end of the current financial year and secure the best possible legacy for the collective learning that it holds.

Peter Cheese, chairman of the board for the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, said: “The Board has taken the difficult decision to close What Works Wellbeing while we are still in a position to close in an orderly way and preserve and celebrate its valuable legacy. We recognise that we are neither the first nor, sadly, the last purpose-led organisation that faces the necessity of closure this year.

“During these times of uncertainty and rapid change, there continues to be a vital need for good-quality evidence to drive decision making at national policy levels, across civil society, and to ensure wellbeing is at the heart of how we shape working practices and cultures in organisations everywhere.

“While the Centre will conclude operations in April 2024, the importance of its mission remains: to secure a future where the wellbeing of people and communities in the UK improves year-on-year and wellbeing inequalities are reduced.”

This news means that the Campaign to End Loneliness, which has been hosted at the centre since 2021, will also close in April 2024

The charity will host its final conference in February, while the work of the Tackling Loneliness Hub, on behalf of the UK Government, will be hosted by a new organisation from April 2024. 

In their own statement the campaign said: “It will come as no surprise to our many supporters and partners that these are tough times for not for profit organisations and many are struggling to raise the vital funds needed to deliver whilst costs are rising. 

“Sadly we haven’t been immune to these challenges and there is no possible way to secure the funds needed for independence or a future host at this time. 

“We want to take this opportunity to thank the network of pioneers, activists, supporters, policy and practice professionals, and researchers who we have worked alongside; the funders who have made our work possible; and the staff and volunteers who brought this work to life over the last 12 years.

“The Campaign to End Loneliness is coming to an end, but the fight for a better connected, less lonely world is just getting started.”



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