INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM – THIRD SECTOR QUESTION TIME

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Co-operatives Fortnight

Co-operatives Fortnight

Scottish politicians Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Green Party, Jenny Marra MSP, Scottish Labour Party, plus two representatives of third sector organisations Andy Myles, of Scottish Environment LINK and Lucy McTernan, SCVO Deputy Chief Executive, are to debate and answer questions from Scotland’s charities and social enterprises next month on the independence referendum.

Public Affairs Co-op, Scotland’s first public affairs workers’ co-operative, working with partners Social Enterprise Scotland, Co-ops UK, and Association of Chief Officers of Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO), are organising the free Question Time style event for representatives of the third sector, social enterprises and co-ops.

This event, taking place on 25th June, is part of the programme of events for Co-operatives Fortnight 2014, will offer a unique opportunity for those with an interest in Scotland’s social economy to ask their questions to both sides and air issues of importance to them in the independence referendum debate.

David Lee of Public Affairs Co-op, who will Chair the session, commented:

“The social economy is often overlooked in the wider issues of political debate and on the independence referendum it has been no different – there has been little discussion on what advantages each side might offer for voluntary organisations and socially-minded enterprises.

“This event presents a unique opportunity for those organisations and businesses to ask their questions directly, hear from their peers and air their views.”

Pat Armstrong, Chief Executive of ACOSVO welcomed the event, saying:

“We have been keen to encourage debate and discussion on how the independence debate, and its outcome, would impact on the third sector and it’s leaders.  Over the last year we have held a series of seminar for third sector leaders which led to a “ten Steps for charities and the #indyref” publication.  This event will be another opportunity to consider what sort of future Scotland would best suit our beneficiaries, our organisations and our sector.”

Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise Scotland, commented:

“We welcome this opportunity for our members to engage with the debate about the future of Scotland and to be informed about all sides of the discussion. Social enterprise has a big role to play in the future of Scotland and in creating a fairer society and a stronger economy”.

James Proctor, Strategic Relations Officer, Co-operatives UK, said:

“This is great opportunity for Scottish co-ops to find out what independence could mean for them and their members. It’s fitting that this event takes place in Co-operatives Fortnight, a time of year when we shout about the great contribution co-ops make to our economy and society. The co-operative tradition has deep roots in the social and economic history of Scotland, and can play a big role in the nation’s future.”

The Third Sector Question Time event will take place on 25th June, 6.30-8pm, Serenity Cafe, Holyrood, Edinburgh. Book your free places at EventBrite.

Panellist biographies:

  • Patrick Harvie MSP – Patrick is Co-Convener of the Scottish Green Party, and was a member of the Scottish Parliament Committee examining the independence referendum bill, as well as previously been a member of the Energy, Economy and Tourism Committee, the Communities Committee, and Convenor of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee. Prior to his work as a politician, Patrick worked for sexual health charity PHACE Scotland, now part of the Terrence Higgins Trust.

  • Jenny Marra MSP – Formerly the Labour MEPs’ spokesperson in Brussels and Strasbourg, Jenny then qualified in both Scots and English law prior to becoming an MSP. Jenny is currently the Shadow Minister for Youth Employment and the Deputy Finance spokesperson. Jenny is a member of the GMB, Community Union and Amnesty International.

  • Andy Myles, Advocacy Manager, Scottish Environment LINK – in addition to his role at LINK and other environment charities, Andy has worked as an NHS Manager, was CEO of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and a Special Adviser on environmental issues to the Scottish Government. He was a member of the Scottish Constitutional Commission which made recommendations on the establishment and structure of the Scottish Parliament.

  • Lucy McTernan, Deputy Chief Executive, SCVO – Lucy has over 20 years experience working in the voluntary sector, including at Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and as Chief Executive of Citizens’ Advice Scotland. Lucy become Deputy Chief Executive of SCVO in 2013.

  • David Lee – David worked in newspapers for 20 years and was Senior Assistant Editor of The Scotsman when he left to set up his own company in 2009, David Lee Media & Events Ltd. He has co-organised more than 30 events under The Scotsman Conferences banner, including the acclaimed series, A Question of Independence.