Statement about the current situation
For the past year SCCAN has been running an ambitious ‘Investing in Regional Networks’ programme to support regional level networking for those involved with community-led action to address the climate emergency. Through our team of 14 (full and part-time) ‘Regional Network Coordinators’ this programme has provided support to help with developing and nurturing new relationships and new collaborations between more community groups, building on the work of existing networks across each region as well as with building strong links with the wider third sector and with the public sector. This approach is ensuring regional networks are inclusive, allowing all voices to be included.
This team has been funded by the Scottish Government as part of its wider programme to support the development of a network of regional community climate action hubs, centred on climate justice and inclusivity. These hubs would provide ongoing support services to the regional networks and are intended to enable a more strategic regional approach to community-led, climate action than was provided by the former Climate Challenge Fund.
Now, we are facing uncertainty about the continuing commitment of the Scottish Government to support this programme, due to the budgetary pressures it is under. Whilst we understand that Ministers have stated their wish to continue and expand the current hubs programme we still have no confirmation of the level of funding available for the next financial year.
In the interim, funding for our team of network coordinators has been extended from the end of March to the end of April and we have been promised some more certainty shortly.
Obviously this creates a very difficult, stressful and unsatisfactory situation for all concerned. We are doing all we can to ensure that all the time and energy invested in this project to date isn’t wasted and to work for a positive outcome.
Alongside continuing to support the different regions, we are also undertaking a full, reflective review of what we have learned and the understanding we have gathered which we will share so that, in the worst case scenario, regions will benefit from the work undertaken to date.
We would urge all our member organisations, and others, to contact your local MSPs to ask them to push the Scottish Government to properly recognise and invest in the community-led action that is so crucial to addressing the interconnected crises that we face.