ome of the team were at SCVO’s The Gathering and had a brilliant time 

Heather and Elaine (above) share their thoughts on The Gathering 

Last week was SCVO’s The Gathering at the Glasgow SEC, a third sector conference for the whole of Scotland to spotlight the incredible work going on right now across the sector and to meet the amazing people making it happen.

It was a busy two days and the SEC was a hive of activity!

Hear from the CVSI team about their experiences at the Gathering and how they benefited form this inspiring event. 

Elaine Canon, lead community link worker 

I attended some great sessions including:

  • Working together on emergency resilience in communities – this really helped highlight what had been done in recent years to support different types of emergency, including COVID 19, flooding, refugees arriving in Scotland and how forward planning really supports this. One exercise strongly identified the learning and positives that have come from these adverse situations, which left me with a strong sense of hope in how our community has the ability to pull together when required.
  • Mental health hacks – great session focused around Heart Math and how practising this can really help us to communicate on a different level while looking after ourselves.  This session gave me real food for thought and suggestions to bring back to the wider organisation to support our own wellbeing recovery.
  • The importance of sleep – busy lunchtime session which I think indicates how many people can struggle with sleep. Good ideas and considerations for personal use and also sharing with colleagues and the people we support.   
  • Conversations for change – lively session from the Scottish Recovery Network – sharing tools we can use in Conversation Cafes. This session was so valuable in that the tools are transferable across all areas of life where we want to get people talking (and hearing) about change.

It was great to see a real buzz about the SEC and everyone was so friendly and keen to meet up and talk after so long on a screen!

It was useful to have protected time away to join the sessions, network and get ideas for taking forward to support our own teams/communities.

My highlight was having a face to face event again and meeting others from different backgrounds/areas who are so motivated to drive positive change forward.  My first time at The Gathering and hope it won’t be my last.

Chris Park, comms lead

This was my first time at the Gathering and I expected it to be good, but I came away more energised and ambitious than I could’ve imagined – it was a thrilling two days! Just to be with like-minded people in-person again was exciting.

My highlights were hearing from anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe – whose work has changed lives and brought the cost of living crisis to the attention of organisations who need to be listening – plus meeting some of the team behind Third Force News.

Jack Monroe didn’t hold back, their message to Scotland’s third sector was uplifting: “don’t stop. It’ll feel like you’re up against a tidal wave of sh*t but eventually you will cut through.

“Be stubborn. Hold your ground. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Delegate and connect with others doing similar things to you.

“Everyone can do something, and if we all did something, we will change somebody’s world.”

It was fantastic to hear about Third Force News’ social justice journalism and plans for the future. Editor Graham Martin spoke about the unique place of TFN in Scotland’s media landscape and their role of “championing the sector but also being its critical friend”. The examples of their reporting were incredible – TFN is an invaluable resource and service for our sector.  

I really appreciated hearing the advice and wisdom from both Graham and Niall Christie and look forward to connecting with them and other comms/media professionals in the future.

Now I’m buzzing with ideas and ambition to carry downriver to Inverclyde!

Megan Murray, comms assistant 

I had a great time at my first SCVO Gathering, I especially enjoyed seeing how busy and well attended the event was, which shows what a vibrant and proactive Third Sector Scotland has. 

I attended a morning session on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the book foundation set up by the star in 1995, called “A wee story can transform a nation”. It was amazing to hear about how the foundation grew to become an international cause that puts books into the hands of young children across the world, including here at home in Scotland. My highlight of the day was probably in this session, hearing from an adoptive parent in the room about the huge impact the Imagination Library has had on his young son’s life. It was a perfect moment which summed up a lot of the third sector work I have seen in action since I started with CVS Inverclyde late last year.

I also attended a session called “Art Unlocks Climate Action: How artists can help make change”, which was a fascinating look at the ways in which art and art within the community can help to make the climate emergency more accessible – emotionally and proactively. I have seen the kind of impact arts can have in the community within Inverclyde with our own Culture Collective Team, who are the arts-based side of the CVS Inverclyde team. To take this a step further and bring the climate emergency into focus in this way can only be a positive step for all involved as well as the wider world at this critical time.

My last session was on “Demystifying Digital Platforms” and was of particular interest to my Communications work with CVS Inverclyde. Young Scot gave a very informative presentation on the role of TikTok in their service provision, since it is currently the largest platform for 11-25 year olds which is their target demographic. 

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home then followed with a discussion on the growing place of Cryptocurrency in their fundraising, which gave a great insight into an area which stills seems very murky and at times even nefarious. The surprising and topical takeaway from this was the role of online communities within cryptocurrency who are actively raising money for third sector causes. 

The Third Sector Lab concluded this session with a discussion of video and audio within Communications which was of great interest to my work with CVS. It was good to hear that less-polished, shorter and snappier videos are currently very popular and successful within Third Sector Communications.

Heather Pearsall, community link worker 

The Gathering was my first event experience as a Community Link Worker – I was a statutory Social Worker for 12 years before joining CVS and it opened my eyes to just how vast, vibrant and creative the third sector is!

I went to ‘The three brains: managing relationships, conflict and the mind-body connection’.

It was a fascinating seminar about how the mind, heart and gut are all essential to regulate our emotions and mental health and wellbeing. It showcased the work of the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR). It’s a really useful resource that I have already shared with the CLW team and recommended to families I’m working with. A great addition to the CLW toolkit!

I also went to ‘Mental Health Hacks’. An interesting introduction to Heartmath theory and how our thought processes, whether positive or negative, impact our physiology and the different ways we can influence this to using breathwork and visualisation. Great information and tips to help ease stress and anxiety for patients but for us too!

Share this on: