20 April, 2016

"We are pleased to report that it has been another busy year for The Stewart Ivory Financial Education Trust (‘SIFET’). To date, our team of financial education officers (‘FEOs') have delivered over 850 separate sessions of financial education to school leavers at over 215 schools in Scotland from the Borders to the Orkneys. The high level of activity in schools reflects continuing demand for SIFET’s services. During the year we have established a steering group and an education group, both of which have added management initiative and structure to the project, which is now a standalone charity. We’ve also appointed an administrator, in City Partnership, which volunteers its time to keep SIFET’s books and records and to help us maintain our charitable status.

However, the most important and exciting development is finding committed financial and managerial support from Stewart Investors, which will ‘kick in’ from the new academic year.

As you will be aware, the project was initially established in 2003 through the generosity of The Stewart Ivory Foundation and in more recent years it has been your financial generosity that has kept the project running, with the vast majority of the funds being used to finance our FEOs and their activities in Scottish schools. Stewart Investors has offered to make the project one of the cornerstones of its charitable giving, which in many senses brings the project back from whence it came, and most importantly intends to provide both financial and managerial support for the project. Lack of core management in recent years has been one of the project's constraining features. Whilst the project has been administered and its financial officers have continued to give good coverage for senior pupils in schools throughout Scotland, we believe more could be done to develop its educational programme and to reinforce the message outside the classrooms . The committed support from Stewart Investors will help significantly in this regard.

Stewart Investors have been at pains to make clear that their involvement in the project is for charitable reasons and not to promote their own business cause; it is for all our benefit to have more financially aware young people, particularly with so many accessible financial commitments that young people can engage in early in their post school days. We would, therefore, encourage those who have supported the project to date to continue to do so, if they would be willing. In due course Stuart Paul and his colleagues at Stewart Investors would intend to present to sponsors and explain what longer term plans are in place for the project. In the meantime, the work continues, but does so, we hope, with the exciting prospect of being capable of providing more reinforcement for its educational messages in the future.

We appreciate that this significant change may have an impact on your own charitable giving to the project, for which we are all immensely grateful. If you would like to discuss with us what the changes mean before Stuart and his colleagues make contact, then do not hesitate to speak to Paul Heward or any of the trustees.

As always, we thank you all sincerely for your continued and generous support for the project and we hope to be able to report more progress in the near future, as well as another successful year in 2015/16, in the coverage we’ve obtained in the schools and the positive impact it is having."

Robin Archibald, Chairman, and the Trustees of SIFET