At the 2019 Gathering this February the SCVO presented results from their recent poll about the state of the Scottish third sector SCVO Third Sector Forecast 2019 . It has revealed few surprises for those who have worked within the sector in recent years. There are the challenges of rising overheads, and funding cuts alongside a continued increase in demand for services. It reflects similar results from a survey published last year on The Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2017/18 in which we learnt that the local voluntary sector was stretched to capacity, with fears about the prospects of long term survival across the sector.
Of the challenges reported by the SCVO issues around funding, sustainability and public sector cuts were the most common cited by respondents. Nonetheless, despite the challenges and the demands, the sector is still reporting energy and vision and overall confidence has not significantly decreased either. This is something which is to be celebrated as we believe that optimism is very much in evidence amongst those working in the sector.
The SCVO has called for enhanced support for the sector which cannot, it is argued, go it alone. Our work over the past 6 years encourages that approach and we have supported organisations to innovate, collaborate, demonstrate impact and adapt funding strategies to support their sustainability strategies. The SCVO report shows a slight upturn in proactive forward planning for this year and, in order to deliver those much needed services, the sector should have access to structured, appropriate support on the challenges they have raised to ensure they can adequately meet demand and plan with confidence for the future.