2017 Change Convention

By 7th May 2017 June 13th, 2019 Events

The Corra Foundation knows that many of the communities and organisations it works with are grappling with a climate of change and uncertainty and that, along with ongoing budget pressures, this can feel overwhelming. It can be difficult to think about longer term change when immediate need is growing and resources shrinking. In this context, the Corra Foundation wants to offer a space for the voluntary sector to discuss some of the most challenging and complex issues, to contribute their ideas and experiences as well as hearing from insightful speakers.

The event coincides with a time of change for the Foundation which launched its new name, brand and strategy at the end of August. The strategy, Change for Good, reflects a belief in the possibility of positive change and a strengthened focus on partnership as a powerful way to achieve this. The Corra Foundation will continue to work alongside other charities and funders, communities and policy makers and is already developing a number of conversations around issues where gaps exist and where collaboration could enable greater impact.

The event is being supported by Fortify. Fortify is a social enterprise, run by the Foundation with a commitment to reinvesting any surplus back into the voluntary sector.

The event will:

  • Offer a space for conversation of some of the major issues currently impacting upon the sector – aiming to explore challenges and opportunities and to offer inspiration.
  • Provide useful advice and information in relation to funding, including the wider funding environment and practical support.
  • Provide opportunities for networking.
  • Be balanced in terms of insightful/inspiring speakers and participative/discussion-based format.
  • Provide an opportunity for the Foundation to introduce its new strategy, name and look to the sector.


To view our Wakelet and gain a snapshop of our Change Convention across a range of media, please click here.

Julia Unwin’s opening speech

To watch Julia Unwin’s opening speech at the convention, please click here.


Breakout sessions

We will be holding four breakout sessions throughout the day, each tackling a different topic. The aim of the breakout sessions is to:

  • Enable a deeper dive into specific themes, with input from insightful contributors.
  • Provide space for conversation and sharing of challenges, opportunities and inspiration.
  • Produce questions/provocations/food for thought for plenary discussion.

Four sessions will each run twice, once before lunch and once after. Participants are therefore able to go to 2 sessions in the course of the day.


Partners:         SCVO, Scottish Centre on European Relations

Chair:               Martin Sime, CEO of SCVO


  • Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director of Scottish Centre on European Relations (AM)
  • Professor Andrew Scott, Co-Director of Europa Institute, University of Edinburgh (PM)
  • Frank Strand, Head of European Relations, Scottish Government (AM)
  • Neil Watt, Head of European Policy and Communications, Scottish Government (PM)
  • Jo Pike, Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Wildlife Trust

The decision to leave the EU came as a surprise to many and has undoubtedly taken the UK into uncharted waters. The third sector in Scotland has expressed deep concerns about the impact that Brexit will have on the communities they support and represent, as well as on their own activities. Issues include the effect on human rights, environmental protection and the important role of European-wide co-operation on research and funding, for example into medical conditions. There are also the wider constitutional issues of Scotland having voted against Brexit, and the question of where powers that previously lay in Europe will return to; Westminster or Holyrood.

This session will include inputs from some of Scotland’s leading experts on Europe. It will also offer space for conversations that explore some of the big questions and the potential for collective responses that create positive opportunities from uncertainty.

Systems change

Partners:         Lankelly Chase

Chair:                Alice Evans, Director, Systems Change, Lankelly Chase


  • Karyn McCluskey, CEO of Community Justice Scotland
  • Nick Booth, founding CEO of the Royal Foundation
  • Katie Kelly, Head of Housing and Communities, E. Ayrshire Council

Systems change is a theme that runs through many policy discussions. At its heart is the question of how to get beyond simply responding to issues, towards changing the underlying conditions that create those issues. This often involves shifts in culture, in how issues are talked about or perceived and to the way in which people interact with each other. At the heart of many stories of systems change is the critical role of people (citizens, employees etc.) and the need for organisations to enable them to have the power to create change.

This session will hear from an inspirational set of speakers, each of whom has compelling stories to tell. It will offer participants the chance to think about what systems change means for them, what their role is as part of ‘the system’ and what is required to make fundamental change possible.

Fundraising in a complex environment

Partners:         The Robertson Trust

Chair:                Lesley Macdonald, Head of Giving, The Robertson Trust


  • Alison Elliot, Chair of Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel
  • Sandy MacDonald, Head of Sustainability, Standard Life
  • Carolyn Sawers, Deputy CEO, Corra Foundation

Charities and funders are well aware of the challenges of raising money in an uncertain economic environment. There are questions around how organisations (funders and funded) can work together to increase sustainability whilst ensuring space for innovation and development. There is increasingly discussion of the potential for greater collaboration, including on the part of funders, and there is the critical issue of maintaining strong public trust in charities, underpinned by a range of regulations to support this.

As well as providing space for participants to share their expertise and learning with one another, they will also hear from insightful speakers with rich expertise from across sectors.

Digital as a tool for change

Partners:         THINK Digital, Young Scot

Chair:                David Robb, CEO, OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator)


  • Simon Wills, Managing Director, International Operations, Open Gov
  • 5Rights Youth Commissioners
  • Jason Potts, CEO and Creative Director of THINK Digital

Digital is increasingly a part of everyday life and has the potential to enable far more people to contribute more directly to change. Online platforms can enable people to raise issues that matter to them and pressure decision makers into action… social media tools can support large numbers of people to connect and act collectively… and technology can enable us to understand complex data that in turn helps to inform policy and decisions. There is also increasingly a move to deliver support and services online, driven both by the public sector and by charities and self-help organisations. With the move towards digital approaches, concerns remain about the potential risks of technology, for example for vulnerable people, and about the impact of ‘digital exclusion’ which could widen inequality.

The session will offer a space to explore some of the challenges of digital, whilst also hearing from an inspiring set of speakers about the huge potential for supporting positive change led by people and communities.

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