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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Funders should invest in strong leaders

This opinion piece is almost 10 years old

Pat Armstrong believes the Big Lottery Fund should be looking for ways to support third sector leaders in its new programmes

Pat Armstrong, chief executive of ACOSVO
Pat Armstrong, chief executive of ACOSVO

The Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (Acosvo) was set up because it can be lonely at the top! We’ve found that sector leaders really gain from being connected; for peer support, good practice sharing and leadership development. Finding out that you are not the only one struggling with a tricky issue and that you can hear how others have dealt with it really makes a difference.

We tend to find that leaders are pretty well connected across their own area of work, but that there aren’t very many opportunities for connecting across thematic areas – from both a strategic and a leadership perspective. We also find that when connections are made across thematic areas to work collaboratively, there is an added advantage of bringing diverse specialisms together.

My challenge to The Big Lottery Fund's Your Voice Our Vision consultation is how can we help leaders feel better supported and connected? How can we help them learn from each other – from both good and bad practice? How can we help funders see that to have the biggest impact at a community level we need strong leadership in the sector?

We have lots of challenges and opportunities in the sector at the moment. We need strong, resilient, connected and supported leaders to both address the challenges and identify and make the most of the opportunities that continue to be out there – just a little bit more difficult to find.

I am continually inspired by the many amazing leaders I come across in our sector on a daily basis. I feel we need to do everything we can to make sure we have the right environment to both support existing leaders and invest in the future leaders of our sector.

Pat Armstrong is chief executive of the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations. This blog is one of a series written in response to the Big Lottery Fund Your Voice Our Vision consultation.



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Jacqui Watt
almost 10 years ago
It is so true that leaders in organisations need time and space for true reflection on their own leadership development issues. If we fail to do that we squander talent. If we build it in, we build capability and success for tackling current as well as future challenges.
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