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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.

People, places and possibilities

This opinion piece is about 2 years old

Author illustration
17 November 2020
by Ella Simposon
Chief executive at Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations' Council

EVOC's Ella Simpson says Covid-19 has brutally exposed the systemic weaknesses which always existed in the third sector

This year has been a year like no other.  Our opportunities and choices have been curtailed by the threat of the virus and the necessity of a lockdown.  But we do have a choice we can make if we want to salvage something from this year.  We can all make a choice to change the systems which have bred poverty and inequality in our communities. 

I seem to have spent my entire life reaching for the impossible with the belief that hard work and tenacity will at least get me to the possible.  In developing with Glasgow CVS our week-long series of events, People Places & Possibilities, I wanted to share our ambitions for change, forge links to drive change and remind people of the power we all have.

What feels like an eternity ago, pre-Covid, Ian Bruce of Glasgow CVS and I spent a precious day considering how our great organisations could work together.  We shared an ambition to strengthen the reach, clout and impact of the sector in our cities.  We had no idea then how dramatically things would change.  

When we say the sector is #NeverMoreNeeded, it isn’t just about how the sector responded to the immediate effects of lockdown.  Covid-19 has brutally exposed the systemic weaknesses which always existed. It is our responsibility to seize the opportunity to create and fight for something better.  Now is not the time to hunker down and hope that everything returns to as it was before, to assume that things will get better on their own, or worst of all, to think the problem too great to solve.  Now is our time to be brave - to reach for what would have seemed impossible a year ago.

People Places & Possibilities will create spaces for discussion, challenge and debate.  But it must also stimulate action. It is not enough to congratulate ourselves on knowing what is wrong with the system – we must be willing to take the action needed to change it. 

Our programme of events is full of powerful voices – local and national third sector, public sector, politicians, campaigners.  It includes cynics, evangelists and everything in between.  They are giving their time to join us because they too desire change.  Together we can try new ways of working, share our knowledge, and combine our efforts. 

I said at the start of this article, we all have a choice to make.   I hope you will make the choice to join us in doing what our sector is best at – re-shaping the world we live in and improving the lives of our people. People Places & Possibilities is an opportunity to challenge, debate and explore a better future.  Be part of the change.



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