The Scottish Government has announced an investment of £850,000 in LGBTI organisations over the next 12 months. We talk exclusively to Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, about her commitment to equality and tackling discrimination.

LISTEN: You can hear the full interview here: Stuart Duffy speaks to Angela Constance

Angela Constance, who took over responsibility for Equalities in the May cabinet reshuffle, said the money was “a clear commitment from the Scottish Government to pursue a progressive agenda”.

Angela Constance meets equality workers in Edinburgh

Acknowledging the challenge ahead in tackling discrimination, the Cabinet Secretary said the apparent recent rise in hate crime against LGBT people was a “sobering thought” and that under-reporting could still be an issue. She also talked of the huge advancements in recent years for LGBTI rights, highlighting the equal marriage legislation, but saying there was “much more to do”.

The announcement is part of a £20 million package for 224 equality projects across Scotland, including cash for work to tackle violence against women, the well-being of vulnerable children and for disability and ethnic minority groups.

In an interview with Pink Saltire Founder, Stuart Duffy, the Cabinet Secretary talked of the important role that key ‘intermediary’ organisations, such as Equality Network and LGBT Youth Scotland, play in working with the Scottish Government to engage and advise on LGBTI issues. She said, “It’s important that we have the right equality infrastructure in place. We cannot do this alone, we need organisations to work with us.”

Speaking on Thursday at the Edinburgh-based Multi-Cultural Family Base, which works to promote the well-being of families and reduce inequalities, Angela Constance gave no specific detail of the value of grants being made to each LGBTI organisation, however funding in 2015/16 was of a similar value.

Government funding for LGBTI causes is split into 2 main strands. Larger national organisations are classed as ‘intermediary’ groups and work closely with ministers and officials advising them on priorities within the community. In Scotland, there are 3 main intermediary organisations – LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland and Equality Network (including Scottish Transgender Alliance).

In a statement welcoming the announcement, Colin Macfarlane, Director at Stonewall Scotland, said,

“We’re pleased that the Scottish Government has continued to demonstrate its commitment to LGBTI equality with this funding. It will enable us to reach deeper into our communities, help transform institutions and empower individuals so that we can work to ensure everyone, everywhere can be accepted without exception”.

Separate funds are also available for project work and in the year ahead LEAP Sports, LGBT Health & Wellbeing and Waverley Care will receive Government cash for their activities.

Director of LEAP Sports, Hugh Torrance, told us,

“We’re delighted at the continued support from the Scottish Government helping us to tackle the barriers that prevent lesbian gay bisexual transgender and intersex people from accessing, participating and excelling in Scottish sports.  Our work has been well received and we have a great deal of work still to do.  The horrific events of the last week have been a dreadful reminder of the need to continue to unite in our fight for equality, and we are proud to contribute to that worldwide movement”.

Analysis of the proportion of public money allocated to each sector show the funds announced for LGBTI groups to be around 4% of the overall Equality budget of £20 million in the year and 3% of the 224 groups were specifically centred on LGBTI causes, although individual project beneficiaries cannot be identified in each case.

Written by: Stuart Duffy

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