The Essential Sector: Making an Impactful Difference in Scotland

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by Annamaria De Felice

In the vibrant tapestry of Scotland’s society, there exists a sector often overlooked yet profoundly influential – the third sector.

Comprising charities, nonprofits, and voluntary organisations, this #EssentialSector is not only a major employer but also a crucial partner in delivering public services and a force for social change. Its impact extends far beyond mere economic contributions; it plays a vital role in fostering social cohesion and addressing the diverse needs of communities across Scotland. It embodies the values of collaboration, resilience, and inclusivity – values that are essential for building a more equitable and sustainable future.

Organisations across the country have contributed to social change through progressive campaigning: from the equal marriage campaign to the #FreeBusTravel campaign; from reforms to the justice system to better support rape survivors to the successful #OurGradesNotVisas campaign to extend the right to access education for migrant students in Scotland.

However, despite its undeniable significance, the third sector often finds itself relegated to the sidelines. As Rachel Le Noan recently reflected, there is a need for greater recognition of the sector’s indispensable role in shaping Scotland’s future.

Yet, despite its intrinsic value, the third sector often is disregarded. Recent data from the Scottish Third Sector Tracker sheds light on the persistent challenges faced by voluntary organisations across the country. Rising costs, inflationary pressures, and difficulties in fundraising continue to plague the sector, creating pressures on its committed workforce and volunteers. There has been a 10% increase in the number of organisations forced to cancel or defer planned programmes and services compared to the previous year.

By investing in initiatives that promote education, skills development, and community engagement, the third sector lays the foundation for long-term social prosperity. Fair funding is a crucial starting point, but it must be accompanied by genuine partnership and meaningful engagement with the sector.

To highlight the need for investment in the voluntary sector in Scotland and ensure its voice is heard at decision-making tables, SCVO is organising a parliamentary reception today to talk about Scotland’s essential voluntary sector and showcase its impact across the country. Our CEO Emma Hutton will be speaking at this event, sharing her thoughts on JustRight Scotland’s recent participation as one of the 10 selected organisations who showcase their work through short films as part of #EssentialSector campaign.

#EssentialSector campaign was launched last May as a SCVO campaign to showcase the important contribution of diverse charities to people’s lives across Scotland, and to act as a reminder of what we do and the benefits we bring.

JustRight Scotland took part in the application process back in 2023. We applied because we felt that the campaign emphasised a crucial call to action: we need better policies to support the sector and more funding to keep doing our work effectively.

Together with the support of SCVO we developed our short film which was successively shortlisted for Smiley Charity Film Awards 2024. Our CEO Emma Hutton highlights: “Being part of this campaign helps us to tell our story, but it also helps us to demonstrate the value of our work.”

As our CEO prepares to attend the SCVO’s upcoming event, we want to highlight that JustRight Scotland, like numerous other organisations, focuses on innovation, development, and collaboration. However, there’s a pressing need to protect and extend human rights at present. This requires both financial support and meaningful inclusion in decision-making processes. If not now, when? 

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JustRight Scotland is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SC047818) which provides legal services through its limited liability partnership, JustRight Scotland LLP which trades as JustRight Scotland (SO305962). This firm has been authorised to act as solicitors by the Law Society of Scotland (Registered No 53703).

Our Registered Office is:
Room 1, 1st Floor, Libertas House
39 St Vincent Place
Glasgow, G1 2ER

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