Recently, we have reached out to political party leaders looking for a response on vital themes for the third sector in Scotland. We were delighted to hear from Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party – thank you for taking the time to consider our asks.
Please see the response we received below.
SNP Response to TSI Network Manifesto Requests:
An enhanced role for the third sector – we ask for grassroots organisations become critical partners at the top table, ensuring decisions made reflect on-the-ground realities.
During the pandemic we witnessed the incredible efforts of the third sector in providing lifeline support to people, communities and society. The third sector is also at the forefront of the recovery from the pandemic.
The vital role of the third sector was recognised by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery and the sector was represented strongly on the Social Renewal Advisory Board and we will take forward their recommendations if we are returned in May. The SNP in Government has always consulted widely on policies and legislation and the third sector has always had a high profile role in scrutiny. We have also pioneered lived experience and rely on hearing directly from people as well as stakeholders.
We know that to enable our voluntary sector to continue its vital work it needs reliable funding. We will work towards multi-year funding for the sector to ensure a more secure and sustainable future. Our Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme is backed by £50 million and awards will be completed by this summer. A further £13.5 million will support the third sector to recover and transition from the pandemic. Social Enterprises are vital in building a wellbeing economy. We will back a new three year Social Enterprise Action Plan with £5 million.
Implementation of place-based approaches – the TSI Scotland Network supports the national ambition to adopt the Place Principle and devolving more power to local levels.
We believe in building the wealth of our local communities. This means keeping resources and wealth in the local economy, with control in the hands of local people, helping communities be more resilient, sustainable and economically secure.
The Place Principle is an approach that seeks to ensure that we, as policy makers, have increased collaboration and community involvement as we know that local solutions can tackle local issues and deliver positive outcomes for people and communities. The Principle has been followed by the SNP Scottish Government for some time and was formally adopted in March 2019. The Place Principle also supports the government’s National Performance Framework’s collective purpose.
This principle is exemplified in the funding programmes the SNP in Government has ensured has gone direct to communities. For example, the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund has funded hundreds of projects and supported jobs in locally-led regeneration projects. In addition, The Empowering Communities Programme comprises two targeted funds. The Investing in Communities fund reflects our commitment to investing in communities so that they can develop the resources and resilience to decide their own aspirations, priorities and solutions in response. The Aspiring Communities Fund helped community bodies and third sector organisations in our most deprived and fragile communities develop and deliver long-term local solutions that: address local priorities and needs, increase active inclusion, build on the assets of local communities to reduce poverty and to enable inclusive growth
We will take forward our ambitions for 20-minute neighbourhoods: the creation of liveable, accessible places, with thriving local economies, where people can meet their daily needs within a 20 minute walk – enabling people to live better, healthier lives and supporting our net zero ambitions. By changing our approach to transport, housing and public services we can make 20 minute neighbourhoods a reality as we recover from the pandemic.
To further shift the balance of power to communities, we will bring forward a Community Wealth Building Act to redirect wealth, control and benefits to local economies. The Act will require local authorities and public bodies to spend in their local communities through increased local procurement, greater use of small businesses and ensuring taxpayers money is reinvested as far as possible in their local communities.
We will review the Community Empowerment Act and consult on ways in which it could be expanded to put more power in the hands of people and communities and increase the amount of local funding allocated by communities themselves through participatory budgeting.
Volunteering and the empowerment of people – as the crisis unfolded, a new wave of neighbourhood volunteers stepped up to the numerous and complex challenges of Covid-19. We call for recognition that the TSI Scotland Network can make a unique contribution to empower inclusive volunteering and maximise the social and community action.
We would not have coped during the pandemic without the thousands who volunteered their help – delivering food and essentials to those shielding or even just checking up on vulnerable friends and neighbours. We have all discovered this last year how much we rely on each other. That is why the SNP in Government ensured TSIs were provided with funding through our initial £350m community and wellbeing funding in response to the pandemic to support local initiatives and volunteers step up to help their local areas.
Volunteers, in all their diversity, played a huge part in the response to the pandemic across Scotland. Acts of kindness, generosity and compassion across our communities have told a story about Scotland and its people that we need to celebrate and build on. For thousands of people, volunteering during the pandemic provided a sense of purpose and community that may otherwise have been missing.
We have a unique opportunity to build on that. A thriving third sector is vital to Scotland and as such it is an essential partner to Government. We are committed to working with partners across Scotland to ensure that volunteering is for all, tackle inequality and dismantle the barriers to volunteering. The TSI Scotland Network can make a unique contribution to empower inclusive volunteering and maximise the social and community action.
Our Young Person’s Guarantee will ensure that every young person aged between 16 and 24 in Scotland has the opportunity to participate in a formal volunteering programme.
A fairer wellbeing society – we call for employment schemes that are linked to community wealth-building and creating fair, inclusive and sustainable economies, to maximise community benefit, reduce poverty and inequalities and tackle the climate emergency.
Recovery from the pandemic must have sustainability, wellbeing and fair work built in from the outset. We will deliver a wellbeing budget, ensuring that all budget decisions benefit the wellbeing of people across the country. As stated above, we will continue to ensure our programmes and funding directly support local communities tackle poverty and inequality and provide the best solutions to meet local need.
We look forward to continuing the conversation on the crucial themes affecting our sector and communities.