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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.

We’re not good, we’re essential

This opinion piece is almost 3 years old

It’s time to relax a little, celebrate and reflect on a job well done

I don’t go to shops now, not even the supermarket, so I found myself on Easter Saturday short of a chocolate egg for my goddaughter only to find that everywhere had sold out. This year she had to make do with a packet of Mini Eggs – oops.

I felt bad but it was also weird – I remember shelves of discounted Easter eggs in years gone by. On Easter Sunday the Easter egg shortage hit the headlines – Asda alone sold an extra three million this year. Hot cross buns apparently flew off the shelves too.

Easter 2021 felt very different to Easter 2020, when we were all newly locked down and were still living with that apocalyptic feeling that life would never be the same again. We were hunkering down, hoping if we stayed still enough it would all be over in a few weeks. A year later, after a second bleak mid-winter lockdown, we’re desperate for a chance to party – even if all it means is stuffing yourself with hot cross buns and chocolate eggs in the garden.

The end surely is in sight now. Just over half of all adults in Scotland have had their first vaccination and the impact of the vaccination programme seems to be even better than we’d hoped. 26 April, the date we’re due to start coming out of lockdown, is a bright light at the end of a very long tunnel.

That’s why SCVO will be showcasing a short Never More Needed film we’ve made with the Media Co-op on Wednesday, 28 April because what better time to take a breather, look back and congratulate Scotland’s voluntary sector for a job well done.

It’s not that there isn’t more to do – there is always more for Scotland’s voluntary sector to do. But as we prepare for a new cohort of MSPs in May, as a sector we need to stand up and be counted. Look what has been achieved. As the NHS kept people safe in our health care system, Scotland’s third sector has kept them safe in their homes with food, medicine, company, activity and digital support.

Soon, building back better will stop being something we’re talking about and start being something we’re actually doing. And that’s a party the voluntary sector has to be part of if we want to create a society that puts people and their wellbeing first.

For too long Scotland’s charities, social enterprises and community groups have been viewed as a good thing, a nice thing to have to support the public and private sectors. This year, these organisations have been never more needed and demonstrated how important they are to our everyday lives. The Never More Needed film shows how charities have boosted the wellbeing of Scots at various stages of their lives over the last year.

That’s because as a sector, we’re not good, we’re essential.

Sadly we won’t be able to meet up face-to-face with Easter eggs and hot cross buns to celebrate the role of the voluntary sector just yet, but do come along to our virtual celebration on Wednesday, 28 April at 1pm to reflect on all we’ve achieved and what this means for the future.

Susan Smith is SCVO’s campaigns manager. Visit to find out how you can get involved in the Never More Needed campaign.