CrossReach in living wage bid
Published on 23 May, 2016
Social care provider CrossReach has been instructed to work with Church of Scotland trustees in a bid to secure funding to enable it to pay all of its staff the Scottish Living Wage.
The request to approach the Council of Assembly comes after it emerged that extra funding allocated to local authorities by the Scottish Government only applies to CrossReach Care and Support staff and not workers like cooks catering assistants cleaners and gardeners.
The General Assembly has a long standing commitment to pay all staff the Scottish Living Wage, which is being increased to £8.25 per hour on October 1.
CrossReach is one of the biggest organisations of its kind in Scotland and provides around 70 services at locations across the country.
It has an annual expenditure of £45 million and employs 1,858 people.
Dr Sally Bonnar, who has just stood down as convener of the Kirk's Social Care Council, said: "It is our job to keep pressing for appropriate funding for social care.
"Understandably we know that the public purse is not infinitely expandable and there are serious funding issues for all sorts of services across the country.
"So while we need to be realistic we have a responsibility to our staff to keep pressing for that funding."
Dr Bonnar said CrossReach welcomed the additional funding allocated by the Scottish Government to Local Authorities in order to address the payment of the living wage to care and support staff but questions over how social care services are resourced in future must be asked.
"It is a question of how can we be creative with the resources we have to get the care that people p;need and are entitled to," she added.
"The deliverance just passed by the General Assembly instructed us to work with the Council of Assembly to seek to achieve the living wage for all staff as soon as possible.
"We already work with the finance group and will continue to do that but the Church does not have infinite resources either."
Dr Bonnar said CrossReach would continue to press funding bodies for extra resources.
Meanwhile, CrossReach has agreed to examine a proposal brought forward by the Rev Catherine Collins of Broughty Ferry New Kirk near Dundee to promote dementia friendly church congregations.
She added that help and support provided to people across the Church was piecemeal and a more joined up, nationally recognised approach was needed.
Dr Bonnar said the idea would be examined and a report would be brought before the General Assembly next year.
"I have spoken to Catherine about this and I think what she is looking for is something like a badge that congregations can achieve so they are recognised as people with an interest and expertise in dementia," added Dr Bonnar.
"I think it is great idea.
"It is a grassroots church movement and Catherine is looking for some resources to help plan that, provide training and induction courses to help congregations develop certain standards."
The Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly, has announced that the Moderator's Challenge this year would be golf related and raise money in aid of CrossReach.
Dr Barr was a schoolboy golf champion and had aspirations to be a professional in the sport before going into the ministry.