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Love them and leave to them

15 October 12

Solicitors are being encouraged to join in a new scheme to encourage legacy giving to the arts

by Vina Oberlander


A small flat in Falkirk will open a door of opportunity for young people in Glasgow. On being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, one longstanding audience member of the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow decided to leave a property to the theatre in her will. After discussion with the theatre it was decided that the proceeds from the sale would be used to support traineeships for young people. The flat is now on the market.

Also, one regular concertgoer at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh – Philip Cunningham – was keen to acknowledge the years of pleasure he experienced there, seeing favourite artists like Jeff Buckley perform. He left a legacy of £10,000. David Heavenor, development manager, says: “Philip’s legacy was invaluable. At the time, we needed to replace the hall’s boilers and increase toilet accommodation. Not glamorous stuff, but crucial to the running of a busy live music venue.”

Charitable donations are an increasingly important part of the funding mix for arts organisations, but legacy giving has received little emphasis from the sector until recently.

“The passion our audiences display suggests many would be keen to ensure this well loved, world class event can continue for future generations”, says Sadie McKinlay of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. “We ‘soft launched’ our legacy campaign during the 2012 Festival, aiming to raise awareness that we are a charity and a potential recipient of a legacy gift. This is just the start of our legacy fundraising: we know that the results might be years away, but feel that investment now will pay dividends in the future.”

“It’s not something people are aware of, but most arts organisations are registered charities. As such, they’re eligible to be recipients of legacies”, adds Barclay Price, chief executive of Arts & Business Scotland. “We are launching a new scheme, ‘Love the arts, Leave to the arts’, which aims to encourage arts lovers to leave a legacy to a cultural organisation. During February 2013, arts supporters will be able to get a basic will written, or amended, free of charge if they leave a legacy to a charity taking part in Love the arts, Leave to the arts.”

More than 30 arts organisations are on board, ranging from national companies with international reputations such as Scottish Opera to vibrant local projects like the Moray Arts Centre. We are now looking to recruit law firms from across Scotland to partner with us on the scheme. It is an ideal way to introduce your firm to new clients and benefit from the positive publicity the initiative will generate.

Allan Cowan of Cowan & Co, Glasgow is already on board. “As someone who has always been passionately interested in the arts, I think it is extremely important that we all play a part in ensuring that Scotland’s cultural life continues to prosper”, he says.

Austin Lafferty, President of the Law Society of Scotland, wants law firms to get involved. He says: “This fantastic scheme means, that for a modest legacy, a free will can be drawn up by regulated professionals, benefiting the individual, their family, and Scotland’s vibrant arts community. I’m delighted to see Scottish solicitors sharing their expertise to benefit their communities, and would encourage everyone to take up this significant opportunity.” 

To register to take part in Love the arts, Leave to the arts, or find out more, please contact Vina Oberlander at Arts & Business Scotland: or visit

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