“It is a tremendous honour to have been appointed as an Ambassador for Action for Children Scotland, a charity which I care passionately about.
I became involved in a formal way with Action for Children in 1999, although my support goes back even further. That year I helped set up the annual Women of Influence Awards. This event is one of the charity’s flagship fundraising events and has raised well over £1 million to better the lives of disadvantaged children and young people the length and breadth of Scotland.
In 2010, I joined the charity’s Scotland Committee, which governs their operations and services in Scotland. Since then, I have seen in-depth the organisation’s absolute commitment to improving the lives of children and young people across the country.
At its 87 services in Scotland, from a children’s home in Stornoway to a young carers service in the Scottish Borders, Action for Children’s dedicated team of staff and volunteers achieve national impact and make a real and lasting difference to the lives of young Scots every day.
I am incredibly proud of the continuing work of the Woman of Influence board in making this event such a success year in, year out. It has been a privilege to honour some of the most influential women in Scotland. This includes the likes of JK Rowling, Kirsty Wark, Helen Liddell, Nicola Benedetti and Katherine Grainger, all inspiring, high achieving women who have made an impact in their respective fields.
I’m always inspired to see our Community Award winners recognised at this event too. These are young women who have transformed their lives as a result of the support they have received from Action for Children Scotland.
Their stories are very moving to hear as we learn about the obstacles they have had to overcome to get where they are today. They are living proof of the incredible, positive difference Action for Children Scotland continues to make to the lives of the young people it supports.
Woman of Influence is one of many events organised by the team, with the help of dedicated volunteers. The calendar also features the Sports Dinner; Clickety Chicks, a glamour-packed bingo evening at the Waldorf Astoria; Yes Chef, which gives young men supported by the charity the opportunity to learn new skills for the work place, and Byte Night.
Byte Night is the UK’s biggest sponsored sleep-out event and has raised more than £8m in support of disadvantaged children and young people since it launched in 1998. The event sees supporters sleep out overnight in the cold. They do this to raise as much as they can so that homeless young Scots have a safe and loving place to call home.
Although it was a hard night sleeping out, it was made easier by knowing that we could return to a warm, safe home the next day. Sadly, for so many young people living in Scotland, that isn’t the case. I was proud to play my part that night in raising money to help put their lives back on track.
It is fair to say that support for this charity runs in the family. My husband, Sandy, is chair and founding member of the committee which organises the annual Gleneagles golf day in August. This has become a staple of the Action for Children Scotland events calendar since it was first introduced 16 years ago and has already raised over £600,000.
Being involved with Action for Children Scotland has been an absolute pleasure. It is fantastic to work with such dedicated people. It has been a great privilege to play my part in some of the most successful fundraising initiatives the charity has. And it’s been inspiring to meet some of the children and young people that Action for Children Scotland supports and hear their stories first-hand.
As an Ambassador, I look forward to continuing to play my part in their important mission to support Scotland’s disadvantaged children and young people.
l Action for Children Scotland works directly with more than 14,000 children, young people, parents and carers each year. With 87 services in Scotland, we are in communities where you live and work. We help transform the lives of thousands of children and young people each year and we’ve been doing so for 60 years. For more information, visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk or follow us on Twitter @actnforchildren