Scotland's largest voluntary social care organisation has urged the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), government and health boards to maintain their investment in services despite the tough financial climate.
CrossReach, the social care arm of the Church of Scotland, provides a host of services to some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, including people with learning disabilities, mental health problems, those who are homeless and those with criminal justice, substance misuse, counselling and children’s issues.
Convener of CrossReach, the Rev Syd Graham, commented: “No matter how forward-looking and innovative our strategic plan might be, we operate in a challenging external environment."
He continued: “Cuts in public spending at national and local government level are expected to have an increasing impact in the coming year."
“We are already witnessing service users with a learning disability being advised of cuts of up to 35 per cent," said Graham.
He continued: “The agenda of 'Reshaping Care for older People', including those with dementia, must remain a priority and must be funded appropriately."
“This is at a time of much public debate regarding the key role of voluntary and faith-based organisations in delivering transformational services to reach the poorest and most vulnerable," the CrossReach chief said.
“Over the next year, while acknowledging the overall financial crisis, we need to have a clear voice on behalf of those whom we serve that cuts in our funding will have a further damaging impact on many who are already marginalised and caught in the poverty trap,” declared Mr Graham.
The majority of CrossReach’s funding comes from service users, local authorities and health boards, but with budgets being squeezed reduced financial support could be a real possibility.
CrossReach "cares for thousands of Scotland’s most vulnerable citizens every day", providing over 70 services ranging from care homes for the elderly, post-natal depression counselling and residential schools, the agency points out.
* More on the Church of Scotland General Assembly: http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/about_us/general_assembly 
* Ekklesia on the General Assembly: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/kirkgeneralassembly