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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

What we've learned so far

Scotland's 40,000 voluntary organisations make our lives better every day from linking up new mums to providing care to the elderly. They enrich our lives with sporting and cultural activities, protect our environment and provide a voice to those who are not being heard.  

During the coronavirus lockdown, they have fed tens of thousands, and provided emotional, financial and practical support to keep people safe in the community. Without the voluntary sector, our experience of lockdown would have been far worse.  

However, the voluntary sector has been hit hard by coronavirus. Here are some examples of the challenges the pandemic has created for organisations:

  • In Scotland organisations expect to see a 30% drop in income, which will hit the £5.7 billion that goes to good causes every year.  
  • The loss of major annual fundraising events such as the Kiltwalk and London Marathon has cost organisations millions of pounds – 79% of charities who receive income from donations and fundraising reported a decrease 
  • 20% of charities fear they will be unable to do the work they were set up to do at some point in the next 12 months.  
  • A massive 83% of organisations that have trading income have lost money.
  • Between 15% and 30% of the sector’s 108,000 staff were furloughed. Many organisations have made staff redundant. 
  •  A third (29%) of charities have seen a fall in volunteer numbers as older volunteers were forced to give up their roles to shield from Covid.   
  • The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing inequalities, leading to a dramatic growth in demand for voluntary services. Scotland’s independent foodbanks, for example, reported a 108% rise in the number of emergency food parcels distributed in July 2020 compared to same month last year.  

There is hope... 

  • Lockdown saw a rise in volunteering. More than 50,000 Scots signed up to the Scotland Cares Campaign to seek Covid volunteers and 74% of Scottish adults said they had volunteered between March and June.  
  • Thousands of voluntary organisations successfully moved services online, from youth music lessons to older people’s lunch clubs – upskilling their staff and service users as they went. Many of these services will continue once face-to-face services resume.  
  • Lockdown saw the creation of hundreds of new partnerships with other voluntary organisations, councils, the NHS and businesses – organisations came together to ensure everyone got the help they need and many plan to continue working together.  

Find out what SCVO is doing in response to what it has learned through Never More Needed.

Find out all the latest information you need to know about running your organisation through the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest funding available to the sector, in our Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub.


Last modified on 22 November 2023
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