Picture of Doug Gibson

Doug Gibson

Director of Services

Why we're backing #4StepsToFairWork

Across Scotland, the need for accessible mental health support is growing. As we continue to reckon with the impact of covid, people now face an urgent cost of living crisis with all the stress and uncertainty that brings.

At Penumbra, we’ve taken every step we can to meet this growing need so that people have access to the right support, where and when it’s needed. Since 2020, the number of people we support every year has increased from 6,252 to 10,599.

But this year’s proposed pay uplift of 3.8% sends a clear and disappointing message about how our sector and work is valued.

Expanding our reach like this relies on the commitment and expertise of our teams who, despite the challenges of recent years, have worked tirelessly to ensure that those 10,599 people receive the care, kindness and expertise they need throughout their mental health journey. Our incredible colleagues are our greatest strength.

But recruiting – and holding on to – such skilled and compassionate people has never been more vital for us, and rarely has it been as challenging. Our colleagues do sensitive and difficult jobs that adhere to strict codes and professional regulations. They’re skilled and continue to learn and develop to ensure they can provide the best support.

But this year’s proposed pay uplift of 3.8% sends a clear and disappointing message about how our sector and work is valued. Set against higher offers to NHS staff and a 10% increase in the Scottish Living Wage rate, it creates a clear recruitment challenge. It takes us backwards in our national ambition for parity between sectors.

The impact is a higher number of vacancies than we want, which creates a demand for cover from elsewhere. This might mean that people work additional hours and shifts, or it could mean services bringing in costly agency workers. Both options are a strain and neither is sustainable. We can only provide good mental health services when we as a team have capacity and energy.

And yet despite all of that, our teams continue to provide exceptional quality of support.

That’s why we’re backing the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland’s campaign to ensure that social care pay rates for third sector organisations like Penumbra reflect the value of our teams and the life saving work they do every day.

We’re not asking much, just #4StepsToFairWork.

Image shows step 1 in text - immediately implement the real living wage back to september 2022
Ccps Step 2
Ccps Step 3
Ccps Step 4

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