December 4, 2017 : Graham Curran

Are you a passionate leader who can safeguard the rights of people in Scotland?

Bob Geldof, John Cleese and Deacon Blue will all be in Princes Street Gardens in December for the biggest UK charity event of year thanks to Scottish social enterprise sensation Social Bite.

Its innovative approach to tackling homelessness has highlighted the third sector to the likes of George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and swathes of the Scottish business community over the last few years.

Social Bite with its celebrity friends may be Scotland’s most famous third sector organisation, but it is just the tip of the iceberg – it is surrounded and supported by the most vibrant third sector in the world. I defy anyone to challenge that assertion.

A major pillar of that support is the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), which is now recruiting for a new convener to lead it through what is sure to be an exciting period.

SCVO was established towards the end of the Second World War to provide much needed structure and support to the voluntary and charitable activity taking place in Scottish society during the war and its immediate aftermath.

More than 70 years later, it has grown into one of the most significant bodies in Scottish public life – working to enhance the position of around 50,000 charities, community groups and social enterprises that make a massive difference to our most vulnerable citizens, every day in every community.

The next decade could very well see Scottish society face challenges not seen since SCVO was set up in 1943. We need a passionate leader who can ensure this organisation adapts and spearheads changes that will safeguard the people living in Scotland who are furthest from power.

The youngest members of our society turn to organisations like Childline in their hour of need; for those who are homeless there is Shelter; the growing number of us who experience mental health problems are lucky to have See Me and SAMH to fight our corner; disabled citizens are making their voices heard through organisations like Inclusion Scotland, and our elderly have Age
Scotland helping them to stay safe and well or as long as possible.

And these organisations have SCVO. They may use our Information Service or access free advice, find a home for their staff in one of SCVO’s five third sector hubs, access fully funded young employees through Community Jobs Scotland, get back room services such as payroll or IT, or join together with like-minded colleagues to lobby local or national government to improve the lives of their service users.

The new convener of SCVO will be joining an enterprising organisation that includes a series of successful, well-established business brands including Goodmoves, Third Force News and The Gathering, our free two-day learning and development event held at the SECC every February. They will find an organisation embracing digital change itself and using its One Digital programme to vigorously ensure no organisation or individual is digitally left behind.

Despite all the celebrities we see backing Scottish charities, the third sector is not about glitz and glamour: it is about compassion, fairness, equality, opportunity and dignity for everyone.

We’re looking for a senior public figure who shares these values and has the vision and energy to embrace what is one of the most exciting appointments in Scottish society.

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Graham Curran