The Eric Liddell Centre which cares for older people, some with dementia, has issued a list of demands to candidates at this year’s Scottish Parliamentary Election.

Principally the charity calls for a new funding model in the third sector.

Their policy priorities are published below for politicians and would-be MSPs to read before the parliament convenes after the election.

The charity has lost income of around £165,000 in room hire and other sources in the last year. The building, a former church at Holy Corner, has been closed since March 2020.

John MacMillan

John MacMillan, CEO at the Eric Liddell Centre, set out his priorities in his overview of the manifesto document: 

“Like many charities and community organisations, the Eric Liddell Centre has had a difficult and challenging year. £165,000 is very significant amount of money for any charity to lose and recovery post-pandemic is going to be an undoubted challenge. We estimate, as long as we receive financial assistance, that recovery is going to take somewhere between three to five years. 

“Despite this, we have continued to provide alternative services to the vulnerable people we support via outreach and online digital support. 

“The pandemic has shown that Scotland’s health and social care services rose to the challenges of Covid-19 by enabling services to be innovative, not tied down by bureaucracy and able to adapt to a constantly changing situation. 

“As we move towards the start of a long period of recovery, establishing the ‘‘new normal’ is going to need the same input of innovation and fresh thinking to make it sustainable.

“There are a number of key issues in our manifesto that I urge our newly elected representatives at the Scottish Parliament to address with innovation, speed and sustainability. One of these is to review the models and methods for third sector funding and to use the post-Covid recovery time to make some major beneficial changes.

“Our vision is to Bring Edinburgh’s Communities Together, to respond to isolation, loneliness and society’s disconnection. We work hard to change perceptions of people living with dementia, disabilities and mental health issues – we aim to show living a full life can be achieved with the correct support. 

“As we move into the recovery mode from the pandemic we have a unique opportunity to see what is working well and also to examine the areas which are not and take bold and innovative steps to revitalise and adapt the service provisions that Scotland is going to increasingly need with an ageing population.”

The key demands are:

  • All charity funders including the government should build in “unrestricted funds” to their grants programmes allowing flexibility in their use
  • The Government must prioritise investment in social care following the Feeley report
  • Post pandemic recovery must be a learning curve ensuring that social care funding is adequate to provide for the needs of all
  • A National Care Service must be established
  • Unpaid carers must be given recognition and support, emotional, financial and social
  • Volunteers must also be recognised in similar ways
  • Businesses must be encouraged to become accredited Corporate Social Responsibility providers with appropriate tax incentives
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