Ten great Scots charities you may never heard of

Generous people across Scotland give more than an estimated £1.2 billion to charity each year.

The Charities Aid Foundation reports each year on the amount of giving from across the UK, and it found in 2017 that Scotland accounts for 11.8% of all UK charitable donations, despite representing 8.4% of the UK’s population.

Their 2018 report is based on YouGov monthly polling of people in Scotland between January and December of 2017, with an overall sample size of 1,061 adults revealing how the Scottish public gives to the causes that they care about.

Here we list 10 Scottish charities who you may not have heard of, and the great work they do.

1. Scottish Network for Arthritis in Children (SNAC)

Arthritis is a disease commonly associated with older people, but what is not widely known is that it can also occur in young children. JIA is a form of arthritis that can stunt children’s abilities to participate in everyday physical activities. SNAC helps to provide fun events for those affected as well as their families, and brings together children from all over Scotland to help them feel less alone in dealing with JIA. SNAC is only able to operate due to a group of parents to children suffering from the disease; they have no official base or government funding, relying solely on donations and fundraising events.

2. Hearts and Minds

Hearts and Minds work with young or elderly patients who need laughter and support to relieve their everyday pain. The charity trains special ‘Clown Doctors’ or ‘Elderflowers’ to help the patients cope with life in the hospital, and to support their complex needs. The Clown Doctors are trained in theatrical skills and have to meet certain standards before they can begin, which the charity help fund. The Clown Doctors also visit schools for individuals with complex learning disabilities where they help to provide additional support, allowing the students to get as much as possible out of the curriculum.

3. The Water of Leith Conservation Trust

The Water of Leith Conservation Trust was established in 1988 and was the first charity to be set up in Scotland. The river itself is at the heart of Edinburgh, and hugely enhances wildlife in the city. The Conservation Trust aims to continue to upkeep and improve the state of the river, funding around 140 river clean-ups annually. The Trust works with community groups and volunteers throughout Edinburgh to help educate the population on how to maintain the valuable habitat, and keep it as a recreational resource for all the public.

4. Pancreatic Cancer Scotland

Margaret Speirs from Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental and Fiona Brown, Dionne Denovan, and Alison Clancy from Pancreatic Cancer Scotland

Each year nearly 9,500 patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and for the last 40 year the survival rate has barely improved. Being the fifth most common cause of cancer; it has the lowest rate of survival overall. Pancreatic Cancer Scotland is dedicated to the people of Scotland whose lives have been touched by pancreatic cancer and associated tumours. They are committed to raising awareness, improving education, healthcare and research and supporting patients and families in Scotland. PCS travels all over Scotland, and aims to raise awareness in the community, as early diagnosis is key to improving rates of survival; usually symptoms appear in the last stages and surgery is no longer an option.

5. Dance Division

The participation in exercise for all ages is important, and at Dance Division that is recognised. The charity provides fitness services to all ages of the public in Scotland, and aims to inspire people into becoming self-confident individuals through the mediums of dance. The charity provides dance camps, community classes, and is also available to visit schools. Dance Division predominantly operates in Edinburgh, and aims to bring the community closer by providing the opportunity for fun and interactive sessions. Dance Division is a perfect option for those who may be unable to afford private lessons or find it hard to get fit on their own.

6. Sacro

Sacro’s vision is to create a safer community across Scotland by offering services that help to prevent conflict escalating, and reduce the rate of reoffending criminals. The charity has shown to be effective as this rate is currently at its 42-year low, with criminals being reached out to and educated, giving them a second chance to make a better life for themselves. As well as working with those who are responsible for causing harm through crime, Sacro also work with those harmed by crime, helping people through providing support, guidance and monitoring the risks caused by conflicts.

7. Scottish Badgers

As the name suggests, Scottish Badgers has dedicated itself to the conservation and protection of Scotland’s native Badgers along with their natural habitats, since 1999. The charity encourages appreciation and tolerance towards the animals. Scottish Badgers also tried to reduce ignorance towards badgers, and raises awareness to the risks they face through destruction of habitats, road deaths (one fifth of the population each year), a reduction of food and badger-baiting, to name a few. The charity provides surveyors to try and prevent the further decrease of the badger population.

8. The Aigas Trust for Environmental Education

Scottish wildcat kittens at play

The Aigas Trust provides funds for the environmental education of young people in the Scottish Highlands, connecting them to the world around them and bringing back a sense of what the country is really like in the local communities. The charity also helps fund the bringing back of native wildcats from the brink of extinction through a breeding programme, whilst also providing donations to supply food and enable veterinary reviews. These wildcats are among the last left in Scotland, and it is essential to protect them as part of the country’s heritage.

9. Smart Works

Smart Works support women out of work and searching for a career by providing them with a suitable work attire and giving them a two hour, one-on-one interview technique session. The charity allows these women to build up their confidence, and get them back into the working world. Smart Works has been shown effective, with more than 93% of its costumers reporting that the process helped boost their self-confidence, and gave them the tools they needed to succeed in their interview.

10. Rugby for Heroes

This charity provides a platform for awareness to be raised when military personnel are transitioning back to civilian life. They are provided support to help get through challenges that may be faced, both financially and personally. Rugby for Heroes expresses an environment that the military personnel may be familiar with due to the core values of resilience, teamwork and leadership, helping the heroes to feel a part of the community again. As well as having the opportunity to play sports, friendships are created in the teams between people going through the same things, reducing mental illness as people feel less alone in their return from service.