Cash boost for Scottish voluntary groups comes with strings attached

    The Scottish executive has unveiled £18m of funding for
    regenerating the country’s most deprived communities, but voluntary
    and community organisations will only be allowed to bid for a share
    of the cash if they are commercially competitive.

    The executive wants voluntary organisations to become
    “self-sufficient businesses”, where they are able to make a profit
    that will be reinvested back into the communities.

    Priority will be given to projects for and run by young

    It hopes to help 500 organisations develop their services over a
    two-year period with an emphasis on allowing the sector to gain
    equal access to service delivery contracts.

    The communities minister Margaret Curran said: “This is not about
    handouts for failing businesses, or giving one sector preference
    over another. It’s about laying out a structure of support to drive
    forward progress and supporting those who really deliver on the

    The funding will be managed by a new Social Economy Unit, located
    in the executive’s regeneration agency Communities Scotland. It is
    expected to be available from October.

    It includes a £12m fund that will allocate cash to
    medium-sized and large organisations. Around 70 per cent of this
    fund will go to capital investment projects, which will allow
    organisations to access alternative sources of funding.

    Another £4m fund will allow smaller, community-focused
    organisations to develop their services. It will also provide
    grants of up to £5,000 to enable individual entrepreneurs to
    turn ideas into live projects.

    An additional £1m has also been allocated for training and
    £1m to fund a support programme.

    A spokesperson for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
    said: “The announcement is good news for Scotland’s communities
    because the funding means the sector should find itself in an
    enhanced position when competing with for-profit organisations to
    deliver public services.”

    – Futurebuilders Scotland report from

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