A rugby-loving Fife lawyer has tackled a sports charity’s toughest challenge, enabling more teenagers to gain from the game!
Fife-based lawyer Iain Young, a Partner at Morton Fraser, has helped community sports education club Edinburgh BATs to become a registered youth sports charity. By doing so, BATs can instigate their own charitable activity, contribute more to the local community and tap into additional funding opportunities.
The opportunity arose after Morton Fraser teamed up with award-winning social enterprise Social Good Connect, a digital search and match platform connecting charitable organisations to skilled volunteers from the private sector. Since launching in May 2020, over 250 charities have joined the movement, receiving support from employees in over 40 businesses across various sectors.
The Morton Fraser and Edinburgh BATs collaboration comes hot on the heels of Social Good Connect’s success in The Courier Business Awards, having won the ‘Young Business of the Year’ award and a Commendation in the ‘Community Business of the Year’ category.
Formed 20 years ago by Broughton, Edinburgh Accies and Trinity Rugby clubs, BATS work with teenagers from all backgrounds through outreach in north Edinburgh schools, providing access to exercise, connections, life skills, a sense of purpose and fresh air, with rugby playing a key role.
Iain, who volunteers as a rugby coach and referee in his spare time said, “When we joined Social Good Connect, it felt right to give something back in new ways, and I was keen to see how I could offer my skills and knowledge. It can often be the case that something you find easy is something others find difficult or may need professional advice on.
“I was already aware through a colleague that this volunteering opportunity existed, and I knew some of the people involved through my existing rugby connections and coaching activities, so it was easy to hit the ground running once I’d signed up. It made sense to offer my skills to an organisation that needed legal expertise and experience. The role required significant legal expertise in the charitable field and at Morton Fraser we have many charities as clients, such as sports clubs and independent schools. Preparing applications and understanding the charitable framework is part of my day-to-day working life, while coaching and playing sport is a big part of my personal life. A great opportunity to combine the two!”
John Evans, team manager and board member at Edinburgh BATS community sports club added, “Iain’s support with legal advice and guidance has been brilliant and invaluable. Without Social Good Connect it would have taken longer and been more difficult to find a volunteer with the level of legal expertise we need.
“By becoming a freestanding charity, we can achieve a greater focus on charitable activity under our own wing through all kinds of community and outreach work. We’ll be able to do what we do best for young people’s development and quality of life and have improved access to sources of fundraising and our official trustee structure will give us strong governance.”
While the application to OSCR is being processed, Iain has vowed to remain involved and act as a sounding board for any issues that may arise. Iain has also involved one of his younger trainees involved who is keen to learn more about sports law.
Lynda Clark, Morton Fraser’s HR manager commented, “What I love about Social Good Connect is that as well as making the most of our existing professional skills, it enables people to contribute gifts, skills and attributes they’re not necessarily using at work. Iain definitely used a combination of both – legal expertise and rugby, all rolled into one placement!
“Before we teamed up with Social Good Connect, it was a challenge to find volunteering events. They either felt expensive to run, presented health and safety barriers or it took too long for the charities we approached to be able to make use of our skills. The range of charities that we could help really appeals. It’s broader than you normally find and it opens your eyes to how varied volunteering can be.
“In our talent management process, there are sometimes gaps in people’s professional development. Using Social Good Connect to find matches that can bring these skills out is a great solution. By doing these placements that they often bring new skills (that we didn’t even know they had!) or newly-honed skills back to the workplace and these become part of their development journey and story.”