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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.

Thank goodness you’re here!   

This opinion piece is 9 months old

June Pennykid on her return to the Gathering 

I’ve attended the Gathering for more years than I can remember. 

While it has evolved over this time, it remains a constant in the third sector calendar, providing an opportunity to network, learn and exchange ideas. Billed as the UK’s largest free voluntary sector event, the Gathering never disappoints.

I think this year, perhaps more than any other before, we need to gather - we need that opportunity for people passionate about the sector with knowledge and experience to get together to exchange ideas and to learn from each other.

We need to speak in a united voice that is determined to make a difference and effect positive change in the face of unprecedented challenges brought about by Covid, the cost of living crisis, political failures, war and political unrest. 

With these challenges comes a growing pressure (and expectation) on charities and the voluntary sector to shoulder even more despite limited budgets and uncertain funding. 

Responding to this demand will be a priority but it comes amidst a backdrop of other challenges and responsibilities that most of us deal with in the running of our organisations: regulation, compliance, balancing the books, finding and retaining great people and cyber security. Barely a week goes by without there being mention of an organisation suffering a cyber attack and data breach. You don’t need me to tell you that these are tough times indeed, and on so many levels!     

While the picture might look bleak, we are blessed in Scotland that we have a vibrant third sector. Its vibrance, however, comes from its people who work tirelessly to support society and the most vulnerable among us irrespective of the challenges faced in providing that support.   

Amidst all the challenges, you can rely on Keegan & Pennykid to take a little bit of the load off by ensuring that your organisation has the right insurance cover for your activities and assets. 

We’ll be on Stand 1 in the Strathblane Hall at the Gathering so come and talk to us – we’re here to help, whether you are a client or not. If you stop to say hello, you will also  have a chance to win a luxury Christmas hamper from the social enterprise Social Stories Club and a bottle of gin from Leith’s own Lind & Lime Distillery. 

We’re also hosting a couple of events on Day 1: Defending against Fraud and Crime, with a focus on Cyber Risk and Shielding Your Organisation – Essential Risk Management Insights. To find out more and sign up visit the Gathering website at  

I often wonder how on earth our society would survive without the third sector. Thank goodness for you!  See you at the Gathering. 

June Pennykid is managing director of Keegan & Pennykid (Insurance Brokers) Ltd.