A senior policy advisor to the Scottish government has been appointed chief executive of the youth charity Winning Scotland.
Zahra Hedges will replace Morag Arnot, who has served as executive director at the children and young people’s charity since 2013.
Hedges worked in leadership and management roles across the public, private and third sectors for 15 years before becoming a government adviser.
In her role as a policy advisor to the Scottish government, she supported local authorities to roll out a community based mental health and wellbeing service for children, young people and families.
Hedges worked for Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS), and until last year, was vice-chair of Social Enterprise Scotland.
She currently sits on the board of the community justice organisation SACRO.
In a statement announcing the appointment, Winning Scotland said that Hedges will lead on the strategic direction of the charity and support the development of its team and relationships.
Hedges said she was delighted to be joining Winning Scotland at a pivotal time for the charity.
“We know that building resilience and confidence in our children and young people will be crucial not only in helping them to navigate the uncertain times ahead, but also in raising aspirations and attainment levels more generally,” she said.
“Winning Scotland has an excellent track record in realising big ambitions and has been at the forefront of work around developing positive mindsets – in sport, in communities, in schools and beyond for more than a decade.”
Winning Scotland’s chairman, Bill Gammell, said: “The board is thrilled with Zahra’s appointment. She brings a wealth of experience, networks and energy to the role and we are confident that, with Zahra at the helm, our major impact in Scotland will continue to go from strength to strength.”