Get set for The Gathering

Thegathering-22.02.17 0010

Anna Fowlie looks forward to The Gathering, which takes place this week at the SEC in Glasgow

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18th February 2020 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

I would like to offer you a warm welcome to this year’s Gathering and hope you make the most of all the opportunities on offer.

One of the things I learned last year was not to beat yourself up if you don’t cram in everything you intended to. Part of the joy of The Gathering is bumping into people and chatting, spending time at a stand with someone you’ve not heard of before or enjoying their activities, dropping in on an event because it sounds interesting. Of course it’s important to book into sessions you want to attend, but the randomness is also part of the experience. One thing is for sure, you will experience the diversity of Scotland’s voluntary sector and its partners in all its glory.

We have 65 events over the two days and 130 exhibitors, with over 1,000 delegates attending each day. We have tried to theme the programme better so that you can plan your day more effectively. We’re pleased to again have Social Enterprise Scotland on board to create our social enterprise zone which, like the exhibition as a whole, has grown. I’m pleased to say we have 25 new exhibitors joining us for the first time and our events range from legal and financial issues to digital innovation, from wellbeing to social policy.

After the great success of our food bank collection last year, this year we’re asking attendees to support the Simon Community Scotland’s Period Friendly project. It was set up to provide free period products, clean underwear and personal hygiene products to women facing homelessness in Glasgow. Everyone wishes this problem didn’t exist, but the reality is it’s a daily experience and anything we can do to help will make a real difference.

Anna Fowlie

Anna Fowlie

We are delighted the first minister is able to with us again to share her thoughts over breakfast and officially open the event. Her colleagues Jamie Hepburn, minister for business, fair work and skills, and Kate Forbes, cabinet secretary for finance, will also be joining us over the course of the event, as will Councillor Annette Christie from Glasgow City Council.

As well as long-standing supporters such as CCLA, Keegan and Pennykid, Glasgow City Convention Bureau and Glasgow City Council, we’re delighted OSCR is an official sponsor this year. 

And of course, SCVO will have our own hub where you can come and speak with us about anything you like; learn more about what we do, tell us what you’d like us to do and how we could improve our membership offer. And we will be unveiling our refreshed branding which I hope you’ll agree is modern and engaging, while staying true to our history.

All of this adds up to one of the busiest and most popular events for years, and shows that Scotland’s voluntary sector is thriving despite all the uncertainty and challenges we face. I hope to see you there.

Anna Fowlie is chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.