Along with 12 other Christian charities across Scotland, we as the Evangelical Alliance sent a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon offering our support as the wider church to the Scottish Government to serve our communities at a local level.

We were delighted by the positive response from the Government. Aileen Campbell, cabinet secretary for communities and local government (directly responsible for faith and belief), wrote back to us, thanking Scotland’s faith communities for how they have provided support for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities across the nation throughout the pandemic.

The cabinet secretary also outlined how the Scottish Government is continuing to engage with faith leaders and communities to ensure they are fully included in multi-agency responses to those individuals and communities in most need. She also invited us to contribute to discussions on how we can support emergency responses and recovery at a strategic level of the Scottish Government’s Voluntary Sector Resilience Partnership. Our members are able to put forward any ideas by emailing us at k.​turner@​eauk.​org.

We are grateful to the cabinet secretary for her response, which highlighted the £350m fund to support welfare and wellbeing, and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to bring hope and alleviate suffering throughout the pandemic and beyond.

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Elsewhere in Holyrood, the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill was introduced at the end of April. We are engaging with the Scottish Government on this Bill, which raises several challenges in different areas, and at Holyrood the Justice Committee is currently calling for views on the contents of the Bill. The closing date for the consultation is 24 July and you can respond here.

A second Coronavirus Bill was also put before Holyrood recently, which focused on increasing the Carer’s Allowance Supplement, clarity for students contracted to university accommodation, and support for those facing bankruptcy. The Bill is being passed quickly as emergency legislation, with the latter stages taking place this week before becoming law.

One of our key roles is to represent our membership in the public square. If there are any areas of work you would like us to engage in with the Scottish Government, please do not hesitate to get in touch.