First Minister Alex Salmond, has announced an additional £4 million for the Community Jobs Scotland programme, allowing the SCVO to deliver up to 1,200 job opportunities for young people, across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland.
The First Minister made the announcement in a speech that officially opened the annual SCVO Gathering in Glasgow, where he also confirmed that 100 of these opportunities are specifically for people with a disability or long term health condition; and 200 are part of pilot programmes for young people from troubled backgrounds.
During his keynote address, the First Minister paid tribute to the invaluable work of the third sector in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland.
The First Minister said:
“The third sector’s 45,000 organisations in Scotland, your 130,000 employees and more than one million volunteers – all of you are absolutely central to the wellbeing of communities across the country. This government hugely values the work you do – often in partnership with central or local government – in alleviating poverty, helping to reform public services, creating employment opportunities, and setting up successful social enterprises.
“We want to include you in our decision-making, to involve you in providing and reforming public services, and to work with you in building a fairer and more prosperous country.”
During the speech and in a subsequent panel debate the First Minister will also reflect on how issues such as welfare, equality and social justice will feature in the referendum campaign.
He added: “In Scotland the Parliament – and this is the parliament as a whole, rather than any one party – has pursued a largely progressive approach to promoting social justice over the last 15 years. We’ve built partnerships with civic Scotland, including the third sector, as a key part of that.”
Martin Sime, Chief Executive, SCVO, said:
“Charities and the wider third sector are at the frontline tackling many of Scotland’s biggest challenges from unemployment and health and social care, to poverty and inequality. As the Gathering marks its 10th anniversary, this is a vital opportunity to search for answers to these issues, which can make a lasting difference to people’s lives. It’s time for everyone to get involved in taking on these challenges, and I would urge anyone interested in volunteering or getting more involved in their communities to come along to find out more.
“The announcement of more investment in Community Jobs Scotland will allow the third sector to help change the lives of even more young people. Community jobs Scotland is strongly outperforming other employment initiatives on all counts with more than half of young people getting permanent jobs, doing more training or volunteering. It works for the young people who get a paid job and it works for the third sector organisations who benefit from extra staff support to help meet growing demand.”
First Minister’s speech in full