At an event to celebrate the best of Scotland’s voluntary sector last night (Monday 6 January 2020), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the Scottish Charity Awards 2020 and encouraged charities from across the country to apply and share their successes.

Speaking from Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall at a reception held for last year’s finalists and winners in recognition of the life-changing difference they make to Scotland’s communities, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It was a privilege to launch the Scottish Charity Awards 2020 in the company of so many inspiring and dedicated individuals and organisations. Whether winners or finalists, everyone shortlisted should be proud of their achievements.

“I see the incredible contribution that charities and the third sector make to our country on a daily basis. Whether that is raising funds, providing support and services, or working for positive change – even the smallest act can make a vital difference to our communities.

“It is only right that we recognise and thank the people who dedicate themselves to helping make Scotland a better, fairer and more socially just place. So if you know an individual or organisation doing incredible work, please encourage them to take a look at the categories and apply for this year’s Awards.”

Organised annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Awards celebrate the amazing work that people within charities and community groups do every day, all over the country, to help those in need and raise awareness of important causes.

In 2019, 44 finalists were shortlisted, nine won awards and an additional four received special commendations for their work.

Drake Music Scotland – Scotland’s leading disability music organisation and ‘Charity of the Year’ 2019 winners – even performed at the event, using a range of musical instrument technologies to create a truly unique performance.

Andrew Burns, Convener of SCVO, said: “We are delighted that our award finalists and winners have been recognised and celebrated by the First Minister in this way.  Each of the 44 individuals and organisations shortlisted last year make a huge difference to the communities they work with and it’s always a difficult judging process to decide the winners. I’m really looking forward to seeing how many organisations apply this year and would encourage any voluntary organisation – big or small – to take a look at the categories and apply.”

There are eight Scottish Charity Award categories – Charity of the Year, Charity Champion, Cracking Campaign, Pioneering Project, Celebrating Communities, Terrific Trustee and Demonstrating Digital – which are decided by a judging panel, and a special People’s Choice Award which is decided by the public and last year received a record-breaking 34,810 votes.

Find out more and apply!