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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.

National Third Sector Fund (NTSF)

SCVO acted as the consortium lead for the National Third Sector Fund - delivery partners were APEX Scotland, ENABLE Works, Right Track Scotland and Volunteering Matters. NTSF was a seven-year project supported by the European Social Fund Programme (2014 – 2020). Delivery of the fund began in April 2016 and completed in December 2022. 

The European Social Fund was managed by the Scottish Government and the lead partner for the NTSF project was Skills Development Scotland. The European Social fund grant intervention rate is dependent on the area of delivery. For 5 of the delivery years the intervention rate was 40% in LUPS (Lowland Scotland) and 50% in the Highlands and Islands. For two years of the project the grant rate in LUPS was 50% whilst in the Highlands and Islands it was 70%. The ESF grant is limited to expenditure deemed eligible under Scottish ESIF National Rules and therefore does not support any core costs of the organisation, nor does it cover expenditure such as Sick Pay for staff contracted to deliver the project activities. Match funding is provided from various sources, and included the SDS managed Employability Fund, Scottish Government and Local Authority funds and Charitable Trusts and Foundations.

The NTSF fund was developed to allow national third sector organisations to deliver support to unemployed and inactive participants. Participants were mainly in Stages 1 and 2 of the employability pipelines. Partners delivered employability services in The Highland Council area as well as in 21 of the 26 Local Authorities in the LUPS ESF operational programme area. In LUPS areas partners were required to deliver their employability programmes in at least 8 different Local Authority regions.

A major advantage of the NTSF programme was that it allowed delivery of a high-quality programme across a large geographic area. Common paperwork was used to evidence activity and financial claims which eased the administration process. Specialist staff operated over various Local Authorities and provided a wide range of services to participants.

The NTSF programme targets those with multiple barriers to access employment. Those isolated from the labour market include:

  • young people with disability
  • poor educational attainment
  • ex-offenders
  • substance abuse
  • geographical location issues

Activity for the project from 1 April 2016 to 31 December 2022 is given below. The delivery partners continued to engage with their participants during the covid-19 pandemic lock down periods. More than 2,000 participants benefited from help over the lockdown period. This reflects the tremendous efforts made by the delivery organisations. The measures they took ensured that their participants, who are often isolated and vulnerable individuals, continued to receive help during this unprecedented crisis.

PeriodParticipant startsESF Grant amount £LUPS Grant Intervention RateH & I Grant Intervention RateTotal ESF Eligible Expenditure £
Phase 1 * April 2016 to 30 June 20193,6062,126,98240%50%5,300,331
Phase 2 ** Years 1 & 2 July 2019 to June 20212,030 3,829,03150% 70% 7,234,615
Phase 2 Year 3 July 2021 to June 2022 1,033 1,593,46540%50%3,848,806
Phase 2 Year 4 6 month to December 22359 748,09640%50% 1,806,173
Total Activity 7,0288,297,574  18,189,925

*APEX Scotland participated from 1 April 2017

**Project Scotland, now Volunteering Matters participated from 1 July 2019

Find out more about the NTSF Delivery Partners

Last modified on 11 April 2023
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