Hunter relaunches Kiltwalk with pledge to end child poverty

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Leading philanthropist aiming to end child poverty in Scotland 

17th November 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland can be the first country to end child poverty and by doing so become one of the most charitable in the world, according to Tom Hunter

The Ayrshire-based entrepreneur, whose foundation has taken over running of the Kiltwalk, said it was a “disgrace” children lived in poverty in Scotland.

Hunter said he planned to turn the popular fundraiser into the country’s biggest mass participation event with every pound raised guaranteed to go to good causes.

The philanthropist was launching the Kiltwalk for 2016 at Hampden Park in Glasgow reiterating his commitment to underwrite all the costs in a bid to support more children’s charities across the country.

Hunter told TFN: “If we’re still talking about child poverty in 10 years then I will have failed,” he said. “While I can’t fix it alone I want to get communities and people involved to solve this problem.

“Hence the Kiltwalk and the Hunter Foundation’s involvement.” 

If we’re still talking about child poverty in 10 years then I will have failed - Tom Hunter

He also announced a three-year partnership deal with STV’s Children’s Appeal and that The Royal Bank of Scotland and Arnold Clark are joining the Kiltwalk as key strategic partners.

The Royal Bank of Scotland will become headline sponsor for the four Kiltwalk events next year in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Speyside and Edinburgh. 

Aiming to get more than 10,000 walkers signed-up to raise over £1.5 million in 2016, Hunter said the Kiltwalk would be the first rung in the ladder to eradicating child poverty.

He added: “Scotland can lead the world in becoming the first nation to eradicate child poverty; we can’t ignore it, we can change it so every child has the opportunity to be all they can be.

“It falls upon our generation to tackle this and tackle it we should; we are small enough, agile enough and committed enough to get this done.”

Earlier this year four major charities withdrew their backing for the Kiltwalk before Carey McEvoy, its chief executive, quit months later following questions over how it allocated funds.

However Hunter told TFN he could personally guarantee the event would return bigger and better having put its governance in order.

“It got too big too soon but still gave away £2.5m for children’s charities,” he said. “We’ve now got our own people on the board with vast expertise of charities so we’re very optimistic that it will become the biggest mass participation event in Scotland.”

Rob Woodward, trustee of the STV Children’s Appeal, and chief executive of STV, added: “The STV Children’s Appeal is committed to helping children and young people affected by poverty all over Scotland. 

“Through this innovative partnership with Kiltwalk, we hope it will be the incentive for more people from all over Scotland to get involved and help those children struggling with modern day poverty. 

“STV will continue to shine a light on the issue, spreading awareness and building understanding.” 

The dates for The Kiltwalk 2016 are: April 24 (Glasgow), June 5 (Aberdeen), August 14 (Speyside) and September 18 (Edinburgh). 

Kiltwalk: from boom to bust

The Kiltwalk was set up in 2011 with the aim of bringing Scotland's leading children's charities together for a series of sponsored walks.

It grew from 800 walkers that year to more than 12,000 across the country in 2014.

In February this year four leading charities - CLIC Sargent, Cash for Kids, Aberlour and Edinburgh's Sick Kids Friends Foundation - withdrew as official partners over concerns how the organisation was being run.

Accounts submitted to OSCR showed that from an income of just over £1.6m, £780,000 had been spent on running costs - more than the £776,000 which went to charity.

Public criticism ensued and although few charities spoke out against The Kiltwalk, public confidence in the event was waning.

It led to the resignation of founder and chief executive Carey McAvoy a month later during which the charity announced a major restructure that also saw a number of staff leave the charity.

Then in June the entire board of the Kiltwalk resigned and replaced by representatives of the philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter’s Foundation.