As the sun shone this weekend, many of us were pleased that lockdown restrictions were eased slightly as we entered Phase 1 in Scotland’s route map through and out of the coronavirus crisis. 

As we move into the next phase, it is important to understand the impacts of the initial crisis, and the ongoing effects.  Today we publish an overview of what research has been telling us about the impact the crisis has had on voluntary organisations and the people and communities they support.  

What is clear is that while there has been a colossal and inspiring adaptation to support people through lockdown, many organisations are likely to face the perfect storm of reduced income and surging demand over the coming months. 

As predictions point towards some significant economic and social challenges as we begin to exit lockdown, voluntary organisations will be facing a greater demand for services which support those who have lost jobs, seen their financial situations change, have faced abuse at home, are struggling without regular childcare or education, and much more. 

At the same time, there is a predicted drop of 30% drop in income this year and half of charities report they may run out of cash within six months. While both the UK and Scottish Governments have provided support, through the Job Retention SchemeThird Sector Resilience Fund and other funding streams, they are very much focused on the immediate needs of organisations who have had a sudden drop in income or can provide vital support to communities during the crisis. 

We know the sector has been ‘Never More Needed’. There is also an opportunity to keep the positive elements from the rapid changes that have taken place to the ways we work with each other, across sectors, to support people and communities. In discussions around the route map and recovery, people recognise the opportunity to ‘build back better’ and not return to the status quo.  

However, organisations will need to navigate the next few months carefully to ensure they are able to help today and are here for people and communities in the future. 

Please do continue to get involved and share your experiences and research so that we can amplify the voice of the sector as we take our first steps into a very different future than we could have imagined a few months ago.