Scotland’s charities and community organisations have seen a dramatic fall in income due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, yet with more and more people in need of support, for many demand is soaring. Many others are struggling to emerge from a hard stop when they are very much needed in Scotland to recover.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) says these organisations are never more needed than right now and is urging Scottish people to give as much time, money and goods as they can to good causes this winter.

Despite a huge increase in demand for lots of charity services as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact – Scotland’s independent foodbanks, for example, have reported a 108% rise in the number of emergency food parcels distributed – many voluntary and community organisations have had to make staff redundant and a third have seen a fall in volunteer numbers due to lockdown and shielding restrictions.

A recent YouGov poll of 250 UK charities also found that 12% of respondents expected to run out of financial reserves in the next three months, with 55% of charities concerned about a loss of funding. 

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO, said: “More than ever before people and families across Scotland are depending on the services and support charities and community organisations provide, and these organisations are under a lot of strain. We’re asking people to help support voluntary organisations in any way they can – through awareness-raising, donations, volunteering – to help ensure vital, never more needed community services can continue not just throughout winter but in the future too.”

Food Trainis among the charities which has faced unprecedented demand for its grocery delivery services during 2020 – with demand at the peak of the pandemic 70% higher than in 2019 as people shielded in their homes. Six months ago it expanded its work by launching Food Train Connects, a one-to-one shopping service which has let it extend into parts of the country in which its established service did not already operate.

Chief Executive Michelle Carruthers said: “The demand our services have faced this year has been unbelievable. Thanks to a superb response from our amazing volunteers, staff and the public, we were able to meet that, helping more older people than ever before to eat well and age well in their own homes.

“The pandemic has proven a powerful reminder of the difference our charity makes to peoples’ lives – highlighting the fact that all too many older people are at risk of suffering from malnutrition or social isolation simply because they cannot get out to physically get the shopping they need. With the continued support of our funders we want to not only continue to be there for our current members – but reach even more.”

SCVO has created a #NeverMoreNeeded campaign pagewhich has lots of helpful resources and tips for supporters, business owners and politicians looking to show their support for Scottish charities.

Giving Tuesday is celebrated on social media annually following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, encouraging people to ‘give back’ by donating money, time or resource to charity. This year it takes place on 1 December – the same day the Equalities and Human Rights Committee is to hold a debate in the Scottish Parliament on ‘valuing the third sector’ (you can view our briefing on our policy pages) – making it the perfect time for people to get involved.