In order to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of coronavirus on the Third Sector, the Third Sector Interface Scotland Network carried out a national survey over a two-month period with community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises, as well as the people and communities in which they support.

A total of 1,184 organisations took part, from local neighbourhoods to national level organisations across Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities. 25% of participants self-defined as community groups, 61% as voluntary organisations and 14% as social enterprises.  This report highlights the main survey findings on a national level.  It is intended that each TSI will produce their own local version of this report.

Key Findings

  • The financial situation of social enterprises as a consequence of covid 19 is perilous, and, without urgent financial support, many will not recover. 81% of social enterprises are experiencing a reduction in income from trading and 86% of social enterprises expect their financial position to worsen.
  • Reduction in income from fundraising is threatening the future of voluntary organisations large and small, with half of these organisations experiencing a reduction in income from fundraising.
  • A key pinch point in the financial recovery of all organisations will be the cessation of the Job Retention Scheme. 58% of social enterprises and 39% of voluntary organisations with staff have furloughed staff and support will be required to avoid job losses.
  • Organisations have been entrepreneurial and adaptive during this period. Half of all organisations have changed what they do, or have modified delivery support to their community/ service users. 9% of social enterprises have started online trading during this time.
  • Organisations are seeing first-hand the impact of Covid 19 on people’s mental health and are very concerned about the impact now and the future. 9 out 10 organisations are concerned about the effect of ongoing social distancing and shielding on mental health.
  • It is clear that community has flourished and risen to the challenge of supporting each other. A significant majority of organisations (84%) report that people are looking out for each other and 50% of organisations believe that there has been improved collaboration.

Commenting on the report, Ian Bruce, Chief Executive of GCVS said:

“Charities and other community-led organisations are an important part of our lives and society.  They have never been more needed, but these findings show that many organisations are under considerable pressure.  The sector has a key role to play in the recovery and in building a better society, but only if it is supported through this.

The full report can be downloaded from here (PDF) – TSI Covid Survey