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  • Research shows COVID-19 challenges for Scottish charities

    Created: 17/03/2021

    The results of OSCR's survey, conducted in November 2020, highlight the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions are having on charities across Scotland.

    The surveys provide insights from a cross-section of registered Scottish charities. These findings are being used to inform OSCR’s work, as well as to help local and national government, funders, public bodies and others in supporting the Scottish charity sector.

    OSCR's research clarified the impact of the pandemic further, telling us:

    • Small charities are more likely to have stopped operating than larger charities.
      • Nearly one in five charities (18%) had suspended all operations but this figure rose to over one in four (27%) for smaller charities whose annual income is less than £25,000. Less than one in twenty (4%) charities whose annual income is £100,000 or more had suspended all operations.
    • Larger charities are more likely to have suspended some of their operations.
      • Around two fifths (39%) of all charities had suspended some operations, but this was 50% of charities with income of £100,000 or more, compared to 24% of charities with income under £2,000.
    • Larger charities and those supporting older people, people with disabilities and people with mental health issues had their services most disrupted.
      • A third of charities (33%) reported disruption of services to beneficiaries, but this was reported by 54% of charities with 11 or more employees, 50% of mental health charities and 49% of social care charities working with older people and people with disabilities
    • Four out of five (79%) charities who receive income from donations and fundraising have seen a decrease in income.
      • Older charities and religious charities were most impacted by this decrease, which affected 87% of charities established for 50 years or more and 85% of religion and belief charities
    • Similarly, over four out of five charities which relied on trading income have reported a decrease in this type of income over the pandemic.
      • Lower trading income was seen by 83% of charities with this income source. This was 88% for charities in the culture and arts sector and sports and recreation sector.  90% of charities established for 50 years or more experienced decreased income from trading.

    This situation has resulted in a deteriorating financial situation for charities across Scotland, with 83% now reporting a threat to their financial viability in the next two years. For 12% of charities, the threat is critical - and this figure rises to 18% for mental health charities and social care charities working with children and families.

    Over the coming weeks, OSCR will publish detailed additional analysis from the survey which will explore some of the key challenges in more depth. Watch this video to view a summary of the research.


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