stuart niven

Stuart Niven

Business Development Manager, Scotland

Charities Aid Foundation

Turning adversity to advantage

Take aways from the Scottish Charity Awards

Last Friday (14 June), I was honoured to present the People’s Choice Award at the Scottish Charity Awards. With 35,000 votes cast, the worthy winner was Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

Set against the backdrop of a challenging landscape, this celebration of the difference our nation’s charities make is a refreshing reminder of the sector’s ambition, resilience and enterprise.

These qualities shine through in two other award winners, with whom I have the privilege of working.

One is an arts organisation, offering music making opportunities for people with disabilities. And the other, a membership body supporting children and young people with experience of living in care.

Stuart presents the People's Choice Award to 2019 winner, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance

Success stories

Music has the power to be transformative, healing, and most of all inclusive. No one knows that better than my client, Drake Music Scotland.

The charity has grown from strength to strength to become a leading disability music charity, and I am thrilled to see them receiving the coveted charity of the year award.

Drake Music Scotland recently switched to using CAF Bank’s services, and I was delighted that the organisation’s new Chair was able to join me for the awards evening. 

Last year, the team, which uses innovation, inclusive technologies and methods to promote equality for disabled young musicians, took the world’s first disabled youth orchestra to Singapore to perform on the international stage for the first time, reaching an audience of over 10,000. 

Another client, Who Cares? Scotland, which uses CAF's donation platform, was also a winner on the night. Vice chair, Megan Sutherland, who joined the charity's board at just 17 years old, received the Terrific Trustee award. Megan’s blog gives a passionate account of why she is so proud to be a charity trustee.

The award ceremony in Edinburgh highlights the most innovative and effective charity organisations and it is always inspiring to hear some hard-hitting and emotional stories on the night.

Mixed picture for Scottish giving

Both of these award-winning charities achieved great things at a time when the sector is facing a challenging giving landscape. According to CAF’s latest Scotland Giving report, Scots are more generous than the rest of UK in charitable giving, but the frequency of giving is declining.

When asked if they had donated money to charity in the previous four weeks, 32% of Scots reported that they had done so during 2018, down from 37% in 2016.

As for volunteering in the previous four weeks, 8% of Scottish people reported doing so in 2018, compared to 11% in 2016.

I hope that organisations like Drake Music Scotland and Who Cares? Scotland help inspire you.


Get in touch  if you would like to explore the support available to help bring your vision to life. Or browse our insight and free resources for Scottish charities.