Volunteering can help make Scotland’s economy stronger, legal firm leader believes

Ian Beattie and Lynsey Kerr (Lindsays)

WORKPLACES could become stronger, more successful and happier if greater numbers of employers encouraged volunteering, a senior Scottish executive believes.

Ian Beattie MBE, Chief Operating Officer at Lindsays, believes the growing legal firm is more rounded because it recognises the benefits of staff being involved in charitable and community endeavours.

He spoke as Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7), which celebrates the role of those who give their time to support causes across the country, draws to a close.

Lindsays supports its staff who want to help community organisations, charitable organisations, sports clubs, social enterprises and other groups – often using their professional skills to do so.

They sit on the boards of about 50 organisations, ranging from school and youth groups, to a hospice and major charity events. Others volunteer as coaches and in other roles.

Mr Beattie, who is Chair of UK Athletics, has himself been a volunteer for 25 years – most notably in athletics, where he is director of the West Highland Way Race and a qualified coach and official, but is also a former vice-chair of mental health charity SAMH.

He said: “The value of volunteering to Scottish business life – as well as community life – is massively underestimated, in my opinion. Business and civic life would both be stronger if more companies support staff to volunteer.

“I have always got a real buzz from it. In sport, that satisfaction can be from seeing someone develop, or in seeing a club grow. There is similar satisfaction to be had in knowing that you’ve helped an organisation to ensure it can be there for the people who need them, whether in health, care or community projects.

“Professionally, volunteering broadens your view of the world, opening your eyes to issues, opportunities and challenges. You meet people you might otherwise not, perhaps building your professional network as you do.

“Having all of that filtering back into your work life is no bad thing. I have no doubt that volunteering makes you happier. And that makes you better at work and plays a part in making our economy stronger.”

Lindsays, which has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth, advises a range of charities on the full range of legal issues affecting Scotland’s third sector.

Many of its lawyers use their professional skills – whether in governance, managing legacies and property issues – to sit on boards as trustees.

Private Client Partner Lynsey Kerr is one of them, sitting on the boards of a number of organisations.

She said: “When it comes to dedication and determination to make a difference the teams of volunteers, fundraisers and trustees in Scotland’s third sector are second to none. Events of the past few years have reinforced that fact.

“They keep the wheels of organisations turning. I manage to use my knowledge as a lawyer to help. Aged in my 30s, I am definitely one of the youngest faces around the board tables I sit at. That is something that needs to change, which greater encouragement from employers could allow.”

Lindsays says good legal advice plays a major part in ensuring charities and social enterprises are governed and run well.

The firm last week (May 30th) continued its programme of strategic growth through a merger with Miller Hendry in Tayside.

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