General Election 2024 – local hustings: A chance to shape the next five years

During these times of social media memes, financial pressures and global insecurity it is perhaps easy to cynically think that elections make little difference to our daily lives.  Without consulting my numerous textbooks on British Political History I can say with confidence that this is not the case and we can point to powerful examples of epoch shifting and game changing elections since 1945. 

Governments do matter and even during what was then known as the ‘post-war consensus’ of 1945-1979 new incoming governments – of all parties – made significant changes to the direction of policy and the way we live our lives.

So if you believe in the power of community action in whatever form that might take whether it be wanting to set up a community windfarm, improve and restore a local historic building, manage a community asset or set up a new service to keep people healthy for longer in their own homes then this is your opportunity to hold our politicians to account in terms of creating the conditions for your project to thrive.

Making sure you have a vote

Of course we can do nothing if we do not have a vote!  11.59pm today (18th June) is the last day for registering to vote ( and tomorrow at 5pm (19th June) is the latest time to request a postal vote (  And of course when you vote in person you will need a recognised form of identification which is new for this election.

Whilst many issues that can have an impact on community action are devolved to the Scottish Government, Westminster governments drive the economic environment including matters such as investment policy, business growth, employment, benefits, pensions and energy infrastructure amongst many other areas.  

Over the next year the TSI will be refreshing its own strategy, and we will publicise consultation dates for this in due course, but nationally as a TSI network we have already created a manifesto that is still very relevant in this election.

Towards a sector manifesto

As a group of TSI chief officers from across Scotland we recently met to discuss updating and improving this document for use ahead of the 2026 Holyrood elections and by way of a thought provoker we came up with the following top level themes:-

 1. Tackling Poverty – poverty is too high for a country with the collective wealth of the UK and as well as limiting life opportunities for millions it also constrains economic development.  Social enterprises and voluntary organisations across Argyll and Bute have worked hard to create opportunities to support people to rebuild their lives and confidence – but schemes such as the TSI’s Positive Destinations volunteering and mentoring programme require investment.

2. Promoting Equality and Social Justice – systemic change is needed if we are to stop the third and voluntary sectors from being the last line of defence in a creaking health and social care system. We need affordable housing for care workers, decent wages and a recognition that the third sector is best utilised as an investor in preventative community measures as well as being an innovator in early intervention services.  A clear example of how funding devolved to the third sector can make a massive difference has been the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund which has brought in £1.5m in funding for Argyll and Bute’s communities over the last three years. 

3. Fair Funding and empowered communities – The social and community infrastructure provided by the third sector and TSIs has been called on repeatedly over the last decade – more recently, in coordinating local support for the COVID pandemic, in welcoming Ukrainian refugees and responding to winter and climate resilience challenges.   As we do more, the need for fair and sustainable funding has never been more urgent, to ensure that our sector continues to assist and work with communities and families across Scotland.  That means we need multi-year funding models to enable the sector to plan and offer our volunteers, service users and staff the security that our work will continue.  Crucially this also requires strong and connected communities with a place for TSIs and other community organisations to be a named partner in holding local decision makers to account.  

Hustings in Oban and Helensburgh

So if you agree with the above or have your own points you want to explore with the general election candidates then do come along to one of the TSI organised hustings in Oban on 24th June (Corran Halls, 7pm) or Helensburgh on 26th June (Civic Centre, 7pm). 

Three of the main parties have so far confirmed, with others invited. 

Book your place at the in-person hustings here for Oban and here for Helensburgh!




    Author Takki Sulaiman

    Part of CEO Updates, General News
    Disclaimer The views and opinions expressed in user-submitted news posts are solely those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ABTSI team. We do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any information presented in these posts.

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