We Are All in This Together
Time often goes by so very fast. Sometimes whole years seem to whizz by and blend into the one before and we can’t quite remember what took place. Not so this one though.
2016 has been some year. Full of heart-wrenching moments, a series of endings and seismic changes, it’s one that many people seem glad to see coming to an end.
As I watched so many of this year’s events unfold, it seemed more important than ever to focus on Scotland’s unwavering commitment to finding and focusing on fairness, on equality. We are a nation of clans and communities – all different yet content to live side by side.
A kernel of thinking began to grow.
I feel very privileged at work to be surrounded by some truly inspiring and clever people who achieve great things every day. Sometimes to manage stress levels, people use the phrase “we’re not saving lives here!” – well in my office, they actually do. They create clever, engaging marketing campaigns that encourage people to take care of their health, their diet, their children’s learning and even how they drive their cars.
It’s impressive. And it’s infectious. It made me think about Scotland’s Winter Festivals and the little kernel began to grow shoots.
What if Scotland’s national day could begin to reflect the spirit of this great country we call home? Imagine if our celebrations could be about what we do for others as well as for ourselves.
And so grew ‘Share for St Andrew’. With fantastic support from voluntary organisations, charities, intermediary groups and community support associations, we launched a call for Scotland to take a little moment of time, just 30 minutes on the 30th November to share what they have with others. We created some suggestions – though they are only that – to help people see clearly what a difference they can make and how much value they have to share. It could be time, professional expertise, a warm welcome, food, old clothes, checking in on neighbours.
This is a new element of an established St Andrew’s Day campaign that supports fantastic events and community celebrations, provides added incentive to visit some of Scotland’s most iconic visitor attractions and offers an opportunity for Scots and Scots-at-heart around the globe to participate.
‘Share for St Andrew’ has really struck a chord and provided an opportunity for thousands of small voluntary groups who already do so much with so little, to be boosted by greater public awareness and much needed extra support.
Hopefully it will put down some strong roots in our society and continue to grow each year, providing an opportunity for people who want to help others to connect with groups, associations and charities who will really benefit, and in turn will help huge numbers of people – here in Scotland but also around the world.
What better way to mark our national day than this? And what better year than 2016? This is #ourstandrewsday. Now, this feels like a much more positive ending.