Scottish Community Re-investment Trust

Scottish Community Re-investment Trust

SCRT Working Group

March 2014

Introduction

The third sector is experiencing a shift in its political and economic environment. It is possible that it may be undergoing a significant transformation in its shape, its role and its relationship with the state. However, much of the third sector’s conversation appears to be focused on organisational survival and resilience rather than the deeper question of what the sector is in the process of becoming.
The Founding Board of the SCRT has produced this document to set out an idea which has the potential to give the Scottish third sector more control over its future.
Everyone accepts that the organisations that comprise our sector control substantial reserves – estimated in billions. These deposits are mainly held in financial institutions that have little understanding or interest in the third sector’s mission.

At the same time – all our research confirms – that the development of our sector is being restricted by the unavailability of investment; particularly relatively small amount of risk, or patient investment.
This document proposes a new mechanism – a mutualised framework – whereby these two situations can be brought into relationship; so that third sector organisations – with substantial reserves – can elect to ease the supply of risk seed capital for new ventures. The objective is to reduce our sector’s reliance on Government monies and external investment – an empowered third sector – taking greater responsibility for its own future.

No-one disputes that our sector controls the financial resources to implement this strategy – but there is a question about the will; do our thousands of disparate organisations feel sufficient shared identity to act with collective purpose. This is a big question – but one we feel that deserves to be asked. The sector’s response over the next two years will provide the answer.