Thousands of representatives from Scotland's voluntary sector will descend on the SEC this week
The biggest event of the year for Scotland’s voluntary sector takes place this week.
The Gathering will be held at Glasgow’s SEC tomorrow and Thursday (19 and 20 February), bringing charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups together to learn, share and celebrate the best of the voluntary sector.
Organised annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), The Gathering attracts thousands of attendees and hundreds of event hosts and exhibitors every year, and provides a platform for charity colleagues to share knowledge and promote their work on a large scale.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will officially open the two-day event, followed by a performance by Scottish Charity of the Year winners Drake Music Scotland who use innovative inclusive music technologies to support disabled people to play music.
Minister for business, fair work and skills Jamie Hepburn and finance secretary Kate Forbes are also scheduled to attend.
Actor, writer and composer Dr Matthew McVarish will also be in attendance to officially launch his book The Truth That No One Tells Teenagers, a frank and honest sharing of essential information, cushioned in recollections of his own journey from childhood sexual abuse victim to multi-award-winning human rights activist.
He said: “I wrote this book for everyone who has suffered abuse and the people around them who care. So, I’m thrilled and deeply honoured that The Gathering will host the official book launch, as, like the book, it’s about good people coming together, giving of themselves wholeheartedly, tackling the most difficult challenges of life in Scotland today to create a brighter future for us all.”
Matthew is the International Ambassador for the Moira Anderson Foundation (MAF), a national charity dedicated to supporting those affected by childhood sexual abuse. MAF Founder Sandra Brown will bring her highly successful stage play One of Our Ain to The Gathering 2020, adapted from her best-selling book Where there is evil which is based on her own childhood and involvement in a real life situation - the tragic abduction of 11 year old Moira Anderson from Coatbridge in 1957- which is now likely Scotland’s longest unsolved cold case.
Following the success of last year’s donation stand for the Trussell Trust Glasgow North West Foodbank, this year attendees have been asked to support Simon Community Scotland’s period poverty campaign by donating sanitary items for homeless women in Glasgow, as well as toiletries for homeless men.
Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said: “We are delighted to be bringing The Gathering to Glasgow’s SEC once again and we’re excited to offer attendees such a wide variety of events and exhibits over the two days.
“We’re hugely thankful to all the individuals and organisations signed up to exhibit, host an event and attend so far, and to the SEC, our partners Glasgow Convention Bureau, Social Enterprise Scotland and our sponsors Keegan & Pennykid, OSCR and CCLA for helping to make it all possible. I would encourage anyone working for a voluntary sector organisation in Scotland to take a look at the event programme & book their free place now – with over 65 events to choose from, there’s something for everyone!”