News & Information

The Budget Must Protect and Value Scotland’s Voluntary and Community Organisations

As the Budget Bill is debated in the Scottish Parliament, the TSI Network in Scotland has called on MSPs to acknowledge the importance and contribution of the third sector and that without fair and secure funding, charities, community groups and volunteering organisations cannot continue doing more for less.    

In our pre Budget briefing, the TSI network highlighted that the third sector is likely to be significantly affected by national decisions and as those decisions filter down into local funding.   We have faced – and continue to face – unprecedented challenges as a nation.  Charities, community group, social enterprises and volunteers have consistently stepped in, time and again,  to bring people and communities together.  They are providing often critical services – delivering food; helping people come home from hospital; supporting families in real need; helping to tackle social isolation and are at the frontline of the cost of living crisis.  Yet, their contribution is still not fully valued or respected. 

Warm words about the third sector will not help to embed fair work practices, or respond to recruitment challenges, continued short term funding and insecurity.   We are already forgetting the lessons of the pandemic – the importance of local responses and strong communities.  Whilst public services struggled to respond, the third sector and TSIs stepped up – often using their own reserves and funding to do so.  These vital community groups are likely to be hit as local budgets are set. 

We again urge the Scottish Government to look at how the Scottish Budget better supports the third sector, so it can continue to play a part in creating the kind of country we all want to see – fair, compassionate, welcoming, equal and focused on the wellbeing of every citizen.   

We have also called for a third sector summit with the First Minister to look at how we work in partnership to respond to the significant economic and social challenges we all face. We make that call again with urgency, as the Budget Bill makes its way through Parliament.

The third sector has repeatedly stepped up … it needs security, value and respect if we are to continue responding to families and communities in need.   Every one of us – Government, third sector, local authorities and other public bodies – must work collectively to help ensure recovery, hope and wellbeing are a reality for every community in Scotland, especially in these challenging times.

For more information:

The TSI Scotland Network pre-budget briefing outlines some specific asks of the Budget and of Government.  Read it here. Our initial response to the Scottish Budget can be accessed here.

Some local TSIs have been contacting local elected representatives about the Budget.  Read one of the letters here. 

You can read the Fair Work asks developed by the Network and SCVO here.  The TSI Network has also produced a Local Fair Funding Charter to support discussions and partnerships with local public bodies and local authorities. 

For more information contact

News & Information

TSI Scotland Network initial response to Scottish Budget 2024/25

“Like others across the third sector, the TSI Scotland Network is taking time to analyse the Scottish Budget, to understand what it means for us, for the community and voluntary organisations we work with, for the people and families we stand with in these difficult times.

We welcome a commitment on multi-year funding linked to employability, and ask if this approach can be extended to other policy areas.  However, we remain concerned about what the Budget means for secure funding for the third sector; for Fair Work, employment security and reduced participation and widening inequalities in volunteering.  

Some of the most obvious funding reductions may affect the sector’s capacity and ability to respond to emergencies, to deliver important local services at a time when they are needed more than ever.   We have heard warm words from Government about the third sector’s contribution to the economy and society – yet this barely featured in the Budget.

More broadly, we share the concerns of others about the effects of the Budget on poverty and equality and crucial safety nets e.g. the Fuel Insecurity Fund and the Scottish Welfare Fund.   Any reductions here will undoubtedly lead to more people in real crisis turning to local charities and community groups.   Any changes to budget lines linked to rural and island areas could make life harder for areas already facing challenges linked to depopulation, transport and climate change.

The lack of any real detail on social care could lead to further pressure on local organisations working with disabled and older people and unpaid carers.  The £12 per hour commitment on social care and childcare pay is important, but no new action to ensure pay fully reflects the critical nature of this work is disappointing.   As Health Boards call on families and communities to do more during another difficult winter, the impact of national decisions on important community infrastructure could actually lead to increased demand on health and care services.

There was no mention of volunteering or social enterprises; numbers coming forward to volunteer have dropped and this is a real concern for the TSI Scotland Network.  There must be a commitment to properly fund community voluntary involvement and volunteering organisations who together provide lifeline support to people across Scotland.

We understand that were no easy decisions for the Scottish Government here, but the third sector will be affected by the choices made. Without fair and secure funding, charities, community groups and volunteering organisations cannot continue to do more for less.    

We’ve already asked for a third sector meeting with the First Minster and Cabinet in our Budget briefing and make that call again with urgency.   The third sector has stepped up time and time again, and we need to find a way through the current difficulties we are all facing.  But our sector needs security, value and respect if we are to continue responding to families and communities in need.” 

Further information:

The TSI Scotland Network is a group of local organisations which exists to support charities, community groups, volunteering organisations and social enterprises across Scotland.  This work is relevant to many Scottish Government policy areas and our links with community groups across Scotland mean that we share the Government’s commitments to Equality, Community and Opportunity.  Work such as the administration of the Scottish Government Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, welcoming refugees, delivery of local support during the COVID pandemic and throughout the Cost of Living crisis highlights the critical importance of local, voluntary sector organisations and TSIs.  Find out more about TSIs and the significant contribution of Scotland’s voluntary sector here

You can read more about the importance of Fair Work and Fair Funding here.  There is a local funding charter available here.

News & Information

Third Sector, TSIs and Scottish Budget 2024/25 – TSI Network Pre Budget Brief

“We ask Government to use the upcoming budget to ensure the third sector can continue to play a part in creating the kind of country we all want to see – fair, compassionate, welcoming, equal and focused on the wellbeing of every citizen.”

The TSI Scotland Network has today published a pre-Budget briefing outlining the critical role of the third sector and TSIs as we all try to respond to the unprecedented economic, health and wellbeing challenges we face as a nation. 

The social and community infrastructure provided by the third sector and TSIs has been called on repeatedly over the last decade – more recently, in coordinating local support for the COVID panic, in welcoming Ukrainian refugees and responding to winter resilience challenges.   As we do more, the need for fair and sustainable funding has never been more urgent, to ensure that our sector continues to assist and work with communities and families across Scotland.

TSIs and the wider third sector want to do what they can to aid recovery across the economy and in key public services.  We can only do that fully where funding is secure, longer term and enables us to fully implement Fair Work principles.  

The briefing covers:

  • The long-term challenges facing the third sector;
  • The expanding role, and the contribution of TSIs and the third sector to the Scottish Government priorities linked to “Equality, Opportunity and Community”;
  • The need to better recognise and respect the value of the third sector and people’s volunteering activities
  • The importance of involving the third sector in national planning and policies;
  •  “Calls for Action” for the 24/25 Scottish Budget 24/25.

For more information contact

Policy & Research

UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) – TSI Experiences of Engagement (Nov 23)

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is one strand of a suite of funding which succeeded the old EU structural funds. This money has three priorities: communities and place, support for local businesses, and people and skills. Alongside a full research report, the Network has produced a summary document and two case studies from Clackmannanshire and Midlothian. There is also an information release summarising key messages and background to the research.  Contact for any further detail.

Lead local authorities were tasked with working with a diverse range of local and regional stakeholders to achieve Fund outcomes in their areas.  This included the voluntary sector and Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs).

In September 2023, the TSI Scotland Network undertook research with Chief Officers of TSIs to establish how involved the local third sector had been in the development of UKSPF, and to identify learning for both the third sector and the UK Government.   Alongside a full research report, the Network has produced a summary document and two case studies from Clackmannanshire and Midlothian. 

News & Information Policy & Research

Scotland’s Voluntary Service – A Guide for Councillors

Introducing Scotland’s Voluntary Service – A Guide for Councillors

This guide has been produced for local elected representatives to provide information on the voluntary sector, volunteering, social enterprises and the role of Third Sector Interfaces.

News & Information Policy & Research

Local Fair Funding Charter

The TSI Scotland Network has developed local fair funding principles in a new charter.  This charter also includes practical, fair funding examples and is linked to Fair Funding work done in conjunction with SCVO . The network is encouraging funders to endorse these principles.

News & Information

Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund – second year of funding announced

On Saturday 7th May the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart MSP, announced that the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has been awarded a further £15 million to support mental health and wellbeing in communities across Scotland.

TSI Scotland Network is delighted that the fund will continue being delivered and managed by Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) in partnership with local integrated health authorities and other partners including Community Planning Partnerships and local authority mental health leads.

Over the past year, the fund has supported nearly 2,000 community projects including sport, outdoor initiatives, arts and crafts and nature, and covering groups such as older people, those with long-term health conditions or disabilities, people living in rural areas and the LGBT community.

More information about this fund will be made available in due course, with TSIs publishing details of eligibility criteria and the application process on their own respective channels. Prospective applicants are advised that applications will be made via their local TSI.

To find your local TSI, please visit our directory.

Details of the application processes in each area will be published here when available.

Read the full announcement from Scottish Government here.

News & Information Policy & Research

Statement on decision on Single Intermediary Body supporting Social Enterprises in Scotland

TSI Scotland Network represents the third sector close to communities across Scotland and in particular this covers the range of organisations that trade solely for community benefit – social enterprises and social entrepreneurs, charities, development trusts and community benefits societies. The Network often also provides leadership and support directly or indirectly to local Social Enterprise Networks (SENs). In both capacities, it is keen to work closely now with the newly-agreed single intermediary body, Social Enterprise Scotland, to ensure the central values of the third sector are retained at the core of the work led by Social Enterprise Scotland (SES).

The TSI Scotland Network looks forward to building beneficial relationships with SES that will champion the principles of the third sector around community wealth building, social justice, ethical and environmental benefits to communities, in line with government policy and by doing so protect the community assets established and delivered by social enterprises as a continued legacy for local people and communities. We also hope to see the recognition of volunteering as key part of the role and success of social enterprises highlighted and the integral way that TSIs support volunteering in communities.

Anthea Coulter, Chief Officer of Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface on behalf of the TSI Scotland Network added, “ The TSI Scotland Network has worked more closely with SENScot over the last twenty years in community settings in particular and I would like to thank them on behalf of the TSI Scotland Network for their huge contribution to the development of the sector. The Network is keen to see their expertise and wealth of knowledge that they have within their organisation not be lost but built on in the future. SENScot developed out of their own social enterprise membership and the services they offer including SENScot Legal and P4P, as well as the support to members is critical for social enterprises and the sector more widely. We look forward to entering into constructive discussions with SES on these points along with starting positive planning on how we can work together on behalf of the SEN communities across Scotland going forward and the wider third sector.”

News & Information Policy & Research

Introducing Scotland’s Voluntary Sector – A briefing

The TSI Scotland Network was delighted to be a part of a joint event with SCVO where we connected with MSPs to highlight the key role third sector organisations play our local communities.

Our jointly produced guide provides details of the size and scale of the sector, and the ways in which it can support you and your constituents nationally and locally.


News & Information

Scottish Labour response to TSI Scotland Network Manifesto

TSI Scotland Network believes that the third sector should be at the heart of the journey to recovery from the COVID19 pandemic. Recently, we have reached out to political party leaders to highlight issues vital to the sector and were delighted to receive a response from Scottish Labour. Thank you for taking the time to engage with us.

Please see below.


Thank you for highlighting the TSI manifesto. This document was considered by our Policy Forum and influenced the final manifesto.

Scottish Labour recognises the importance of a strong voluntary sector in our plans to decentralise powers and democratise the economy. We will support a continued partnership approach between government, charities, social enterprises and other sectors, modernise charity law, strengthen governance, and provide longer-term financing for projects delivered by the voluntary sector. We support ‘Volunteering for All’ outcomes and will promote employer engagement with awards and training, as well as support for community organising.

A fairer wellbeing society is at the core of our manifesto and community wealth building has been pioneered by Labour local authorities in Scotland. Our focus is on delivering a Parliament focused on a national recovery to create a fairer and stronger Scotland.

You can find the full details of our National Recovery Plan here.


We look forward to continuing the conversation on the crucial themes affecting our sector and communities.