Strengthening the sector with the offer of free membership
13 Mar 2023
Children in Scotland's Head of Engagement & Learning, Simon Massey, on making our membership more accessible and supporting equality and diversity in the children's sector.
We are acutely aware of how challenging things are for the children’s sector (and beyond) at the minute. We constantly think about different ways we can support organisations across Scotland to deliver the best services for children, young people and their families, while also looking out for their own needs.
One of our priority areas is to ‘lead and develop the children’s sector workforce’ and we try do this in various ways. This includes delivering learning and networking opportunities, providing advice and information services, championing the inclusion of children and young people, influencing or challenging policy and practice developments, and providing a relevant and cost-effective Membership Service.
On this last one, we have worked incredibly hard to deliver our activities as efficiently as possible, minimising any increases in costs being passed on to the children’s sector. This means prices haven’t gone up since 2018 and we are really pleased to say that we are able to hold them for a further year.
In fact, we have made the decision to start a longer-term plan to make Membership more accessible to more organisations across Scotland. This will be a rolling programme over the next 12-18 months and will start off with us offering a free 12-month Membership to the following:
- Charities with an annual income under £50,000
- Organisations that primarily work with minority ethnic children, young people and families in Scotland.
Any organisation becoming a Children in Scotland Member will access a range of benefits (Click here to access our Membership Guide 2023) but some of the key ones include:
- Joining our network, including 450 members comprising a wide range of individuals and organisations (Click here to access our Members Directory)
- Accessing free Member events including our Voices Forum
- Getting discounts on our open Learning Programme, with prices starting at £35 for Members (Click here for information about our upcoming learning events)
- Receiving our bi-annual Member publication, Insight, providing a space for inspiration, reflection, discussion and sharing of knowledge.
We have made the decision to extend our free Membership offer to these groups for the following reasons:
Charities with an annual income under £50,000
As of 8 March 2023, OSCR (click here for more information about the Scottish Charity Regulator) shows that there are currently 25,413 charities registered in Scotland, and 14,218 of those have an annual income of under £50,000, which is almost 56%. While 7,122 of them identify their beneficiaries as being children and young people, which is 28% of the total number of registered charities.
We feel this is a great place to start in trying to remove the barrier of cost for those organisations to access our Membership Services, particularly when you consider that OSCR’s Scottish Charities 2021 report (click here to read that report) said that 68% of charities were run entirely by volunteers.
So, if you are a charity with an annual income of under £50,000 who is registered with OSCR and whose beneficiaries are children, young people or families, get in touch!
Organisations who primarily work with minority ethnic children, young people and families in Scotland
As mentioned in Amy Woodhouse’s blog, Making the change and committing to race equality (click here to read the blog), our commitment to improving representation and working in partnership (click here to read the pledges in our Race Equality Statement) includes offering a free 12-month Membership to any organisation in Scotland whose primary focus is working with minority ethnic children and families.
We hope to remove some of the barriers that organisations may face, while also better reflecting the diversity across Scotland and including a wider range of voices and lived experiences in our activities.
So, if you are an organisation in Scotland that is primarily working with minority ethnic children, young people or families, get in touch! There are no criteria linked to income.
How to join
If you meet the criteria above, then you just need to complete our application form, which can be found on the 'Join us' page.
Click here to access the 'Join Us' page
We ask that, in the ‘Membership category’ section, you add in ‘FREE 1’ if you’re a charity with an annual income under £50,000 or ‘FREE 2’ if you are an organisation working primarily with minority ethnic children, young people and families.
Then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This offer will be open until 31 May 2023 and the Membership will last for a 12-month period.
We look forward to welcoming you to Children in Scotland!