It’s a little early to start celebrating 2016. So far, however, the new year has been good to me.

Just a week ago I joined SCVO as a Public Affairs Officer with a focus on member engagement. In this short week I’ve had the opportunity to:

  • meet Naomi Eisenstadt, Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
  • attend the launch of the Equality and Human Rights Commissions report, Is Scotland Fairer?
  • and meet colleagues from Voluntary Health Scotland, Carers Scotland, Fife Gingerbread, Engender, Legal Services Agency and, of course, from across SCVO.

Thank you all for the warm welcome.

I’m aware that as we battle the bitter cold and the January blues, colleagues may not be feeling quite so cheerful. Thankfully, warmer temperatures and some third sector highlights and are just around the corner.

The Gathering, Scotland’s largest event for charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations, is now less than four weeks away, kicking off on 17 of February.

This year colleagues who book early will have the opportunity to attend a breakfast meeting with the First Minister. Like many colleagues across the sector, I have already eagerly booked my place.

You can also snap up the opportunity to explore how embracing human rights might help us to achieve a more socially just Scotland with director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti.

If the Gathering isn’t enough to warm your cockles, the Scottish Charity Awards certainly will be. I had the opportunity to attend the awards last year when my previous employer, BHF Scotland, was a finalist in the Perfect Partnership category. Although we didn’t win it was a truly inspiring evening, and for some can be a life changer.

This year applications are sought in seven categories:

Charity of the Year

Celebrating Communities

Perfect Partnership

Cracking Campaign

Charity Champion

Digital Dynamo

Exceptional Employee, a brand new award.

For me the awards will offer a great opportunity to learn about the work of colleagues across the sector, while our lucky finalists can look forward to the formal recognition of all their hard work, as well as a great night out!

Now, if all that still hasn’t got you het up, then there is one other thing: #Holyrood2016.

After all, who doesn’t love an election?

Role on May 2016.