Charities face funding struggle as demand for services increases, says SCVO survey

Martin Sime, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, says the voluntary sector faces another year of doing more for less

Martin Sime
Martin Sime

Charities will continue to struggle for funding in 2013 and will experience significantly higher demand for their services, according to a study by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The SCVO’s annual State of the Sector report, published on Tuesday, says that 81 per cent of third sector organisations expect the sector’s financial situation to worsen over the next year. Three-quarters of the charities surveyed predict that demand for their services will increase significantly in 2013.

The study is based on a survey of 403 voluntary organisations in Scotland, which were asked what they thought the next year held for their organisations and the sector as a whole.

Coping with the increased demand for services, competition for limited resources and the need to invest in new services were the main concerns for charities in Scotland.

The report says that 80 per cent of charities are planning new services and projects to meet growing demand, and 76 per cent of them are planning to create new sources of income.

Martin Sime, chief executive of the SCVO, said: "Charities and voluntary groups will face another year of trying to do more with less in 2013.

"Major welfare cuts, high unemployment and a flat economy mean that more people than ever will be turning to the third sector for help, advice and practical support in the coming year.

"But the funding climate could not be bleaker, with a big fall in donated income coinciding with further cuts in public expenditure."

Welfare cuts are a major concern for charities, with 63 per cent of respondents saying they would be affected by the reforms.

"It is a matter of huge regret that the UK government is pressing ahead with these cuts," said Sime. "It’s an indictment of our society that this assault on the weak has been allowed to happen, but the sector will commit itself to mitigating the impact of these cuts and lead the fight against these policies."

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