On 29th September, Together welcomed individuals and organisations from across our membership to join us for our Annual General Meeting (AGM). In true Together style, we combined fun and seriousness to share developments from the past year and to learn from our members.
The meeting opened with a less earnest, albeit difficult, task which had members scratching their heads. In 25 seconds, could they find and bring to the Zoom call, a household item which they thought represented Together? As always, they rose to the challenge with incredible creativity!
Together’s current mascot, the stork, now has some serious competition from:
- “The wicker bin –strands of woven wicker represent Together’s members collaborating to secure children’s rights (and address the more ‘rubbish’ bits)”.
- “The talking stick – to give every child and young person a voice and be listened to”
- “A cushion – because we feel so welcomed and comfortable as a new member!”
- “Glasses – helping Together’s members to clearly see the key parts of complex documents from Scottish Government of the UN Committee”
- “A plastic vacuum bag – symbolising the colossal amount of information that exists about children’s rights and how Together compresses it to make it manageable and accessible”.
Next, we asked our members to contribute to an activity to help us determine what Together’s ‘head, hearts, hands and feet’ should be. We worked on Jamboards in breakout rooms – see one of the group’s ideas below.
Member input is core to Together’s work and the valuable contributions from this activity will inform our next strategic plan, our strategy to support members with UNCRC implementation and our priorities with regards to the events we hold and the resources we produce.
At Together’s 2020 AGM, we welcomed four new members to our Board of Trustees – Laura Pasternak, Kevin Kane, Tracy Kirk and Mo Omar. Susan Hunter was co-opted onto the Board as an Observer in November 2020. Alongside our longer-serving Trustees, our newest board members have supported an extensive programme of work to develop our strategic plan, our policies and the governance of Together as a whole. In the coming year, we plan to work widely with our broader membership to consolidate and embed the work that they have started. We are delighted to announce that at this year’s AGM our existing board members, Rozanne Chorlton, Susan Hunter, Lucinda Rivers and our Chair Mary Glasgow, were re-elected.
After re-electing our trustees, Mary went on to share our annual report and Together’s Director Juliet led a review of Together’s achievements from the past year. Some key highlights from the 2020-2021 financial year were:
- MSPs voting unanimously to pass the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Scotland Bill (a piece of legislation that Together has been campaigning to be passed for 10+ years!).
- Together supporting children and young people to meet with the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership to tell them what they wanted from a new human rights law for Scotland.
- Our 2020 List of Issues Prior to Reporting Report which highlighted the of 30 key issues for children in Scotland, drawing on evidence from over 60 of our member organisations.
Over recent months, as both Together’s membership and staff team have grown in size, we have initiated new working groups, hosted more events and undertaken a pilot project between our membership – and the children and young people they work with – and Scottish Government’s Strategic Implementation Board (a group providing strategic oversight of UNCRC implementation in Scotland). We have also been working on our anti-racism strategy and how being actively anti-racist can be embedded across all areas of our work (more information on this coming soon).
The AGM closed with a relaxed game of ‘spin the wheel’ – members’ questions about Together’s work as well as silly questions thought up by our staff team (e.g ‘what could be a funny acronym for UNCRC?’) were loaded onto our online spinning wheel and allocated to people at random.
We’re so grateful to everyone who attended and contributed to our 2021 AGM and are so excited to see what the next year will bring.
Without our members, Together would not be the growing organisation that it is today and would not have the impact we do in inspiring and enabling everyone in Scotland to put children and young people’s human rights at the heart of everything they do. You can read about joining us here!