Peter Minshall responds to a debate on third sector funding in the Scottish Parliament
On 1 December the Scottish Parliament debated third sector funding in the Valuing the Third Sector debate.
The response made by third sector carer organisations to the Covid-19 pandemic in which unpaid carers were not alone cannot be underestimated.
Supporting unpaid carers rests entirely with the 57 third sector carer centres across Scotland who are responsible for providing free support services to the estimated one million unpaid carers in Scotland.
Carer centres, like many third sector organisations, struggle operationally, having to fundraise continuously. They suffer from short term piecemeal funding contributions simply to keep the organisation in business, having sometimes to secure a range of grants for just one service, along with ceaseless report writing for every piece of funding received; this is completely unsustainable.
There has to be an end to the culture of short term funding in Scotland; this requires vision, courage and leadership and there is already a potential funding framework available to ministers; it just needs unlocking.
Access to the right level of finance for Carer Centres is embedded within the Carers Act Funding arising from the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 (the Act). And so it follows that there is a simple solution; Government needs to direct an intention to ring fence Carers Act Funding and ‘fund thebBudget’ of carer centres on a full cost recovery basis.
Peter Minshall has been fundraising in the Scottish Third Sector for thirty years, has been CEO of three Scottish charities and has been helping in the care sector since first lockdown