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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Specialist charity announces new chief - as leader steps down after 34 years

This news post is 9 months old

Andy Wynd has been in post since 1989

A long term third sector stalwart is stepping down after 34 years at the helm of a leading charity.

Andy Wynd is giving way as chief executive of specialist charity Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus (SBH) Scotland for Lawrence Cowan (pictured), currently a director of at Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.

Cowan will assume the new role in October.

Prior to his current role he was CHSS’s director of communications and fundraising leading its work on high profile campaigns like the Long Covid Care Now campaign, and Thrombectomy for All.

His career in the third sector began when his friend, political researcher Gordon Aikman, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) at just 29 years old. He and Gordon, along with a group of their closest friends, formed the ‘Gordon’s Fightback’ campaign and were successful in doubling the number of MND nurses, while raising £700,000 for research.

Cowan went on to become chair of the board at MND Scotland, leading the charity through a period of significant growth and helping to establish Scotland’s largest ever drug trial for the rare condition – MND SMART.

Dr Margo Whiteford CBE, chair of SBH Scotland, said: “Andy Wynd has done so much for SBH Scotland over the last three decades, turning what was a small, parent-led group into a national service that provides specialised support to more than 4,000 individuals across Scotland.

“Finding a successor was always going to be difficult. In Lawrence, however, we have found someone with a depth of experience in the sector, a real passion for driving change, and the exceptional leadership skills we need to develop and grow.

“We’re greatly looking forward to Lawrence joining us and leading the charity into the future as we start a new exciting chapter in our history.”

Lawrence Cowan said: "I'm delighted to be joining the wonderful team and the wider community in our mission to make sure that no one faces the effects of spina bifida and hydrocephalus alone. 

"I also want to pay tribute to Andy's commitment to and leadership of the charity. The progress that we make in the future is only possible because of Andy's contribution to growing SBH Scotland to the respected national service provider it is today.   

"Right now, people need our support more than ever. The cost-of-living crisis is hitting many of our families hard. Almost half of disabled households are struggling with the basics such as keeping their home warm. Demand for our range of family support services is also increasing while the cost of care is rising. 

“We need people to get behind our cause like never before.  Bringing together our families, our donors and supporters I know we can build a truly unstoppable cause to improve the lives of people with our conditions."