Charities and individuals from across Scotland have been recognised for the life-changing difference they make at the 2020 Scottish Charity Awards on 25 September.
Run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Scottish Charity Awards celebrate the best of Scotland’s voluntary sector. Due to the impact of coronavirus, this year the Awards were held in an entirely online ceremony so that all finalists and attendees who wanted to attend were still able to join the celebrations in a safe way. It allowed for some special guest appearances, which included messages from the First Minister, Biffy Clyro, Finn Russell, Lorraine Kelly and Sanjeev Kohli amongst others.
Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said: “A huge congratulations to our winners and all of this year’s finalists. Each of the 45 individuals and organisations shortlisted make a huge difference to the communities they work with, and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring the voluntary sector together – albeit online! – to recognise and celebrate their achievements. We received 27,719 votes for the People’s Choice Award this year so I would also like to thank all those who contributed to the evening by voting for their favourite person or organisation. A wonderful night had by all.”
This year 45 finalists were shortlisted, nine won awards and an additional four received special commendations for their work. The winners are:
Cracking campaign –The Coalition for Equal Protection (Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st, NSPCC Scotland)
This Coalition of charities used over 20 years of combined experience to publish research on the negative effects of physical punishment on children, give evidence and campaign alongside children and families, and colleagues from voluntary, public and private sector organisations to support John Finnie MSP’s Member’s Bill to remove the ‘justifiable assault’ defence from Scots Law. The Coalition succeeded and Scotland became the first country in the UK to end the physical punishment of children.
A spokesperson for the Coalition for Equal Protection – Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st & NSPCC Scotland – said: “We are delighted to receive this award, which is the result of years of campaigning by the Coalition, children, families, organisations and individuals, and which led to John Finnie MSP’s Bill removing the ‘justifiable assault’ defence from Scots Law. While our campaign delivered an important change in legislation, it was also about driving a positive culture change across Scotland and helping to shape a society where physical punishment of children is seen as unacceptable.”
Charity champion –Elaine McHugh (Beatson Cancer Charity)
To create a fitting legacy in memory of her daughter Eilidh, who tragically passed away from a rare form of cancer aged just 22, Elaine’s fundraising achievements which exceeds £300,000 has helped create Beatson Cancer charity’s new website including a new digital platform called ‘My Light’ – a unique online space providing people with information, advice and support to help them through their cancer journey.
Elaine said: “I feel so proud to win the Charity Champion category of the SCVO Scottish Charity Awards 2020. This has been an incredibly difficult time for all charities and I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of Beatson Cancer Charity, #TeamEilidh, my husband Michael and my very special daughter Kerry. I believe Eilidh was really looking down on me when I won – Eilidh’s name means ‘Light’ and her light continues to shine through and directs us all in her name.”
A special commendation was also made in this category to Euan MacDonald from Euan’s Guide.
Pioneering project –Autism-Friendly Rugby (Strathmore Community Rugby Trust)
This unique project aims to increase the physical activity levels of children with Autism, improve their social and emotional skills, reduce isolation for not only the participants but also their parents/carers, and increase the knowledge of coaches and volunteers on delivering rugby for all. The sessions have been hugely popular and have received high praise from the participants themselves, their parents and carers, and industry experts for delivering a truly Autism-friendly activity.
Maggie Lawrie, Community Project Coordinator for Strathmore Community Rugby Trust said: “We are absolutely over the moon to have won! We have received so much support for the project not only within our immediate community but also from partner organisations. It’s great that all the hard work which has gone into making Autism-Friendly Rugby a success has now been recognised. A massive thank you has to go to the coaches and volunteers who deliver the sessions. They have a very special bond with the players and it’s a joy to see the players, coaches and volunteers develop through rugby – it’s what the Trust is all about. “
Leading light –Bridie Ashrowan (The Broomhouse Centre/Space)
Space & Broomhouse Hub, a local community development trust, in an area that has some of the highest child and in-work poverty in Scotland. Bridie has recently headed up a £3.2m capital investment opening a new community Hub in late 2019. Space, the new name to indicate its values, serves a SW Edinburgh footprint: Youth work, Young Carers & Youth Befriending services; Adult Carers & Dementia Services; Vintage Vibes, addressing isolation in over 60’s; Employment Training, in a lovely community café, as well as well-being and mental health support. Added to that, Bridie was passionate about helping the community create a new garden on scrub land nearby, now up and running.
Bridie said: “I would like to say how humbled I am to win this award, however, I am delighted for the people of our community and organsiation, I have only been able to achieve this thanks to the totally amazing team of staff, volunteers and Trustees, including the caretakers, the cleaners, and the cooks and the community, who have helped kept us open since the start of COVID 19. It is to all of them I dedicate this award to.”
A special commendation was also made in this category to Rebecca Patterson from the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care SPPC.
Celebrating communities –Supporting our community
A community hub for areas of multiple deprivation in South Lanarkshire, Supporting our Community (SOC) helps families which struggle to access support and offers intergenerational activities that encourage community participation, reduce isolation and signpost to other agencies. Following the tragic suicide of the daughter of one of their volunteers, 16 volunteers have now become qualified mental health first aiders and 40 local people have attended both suicide talk and awareness courses, providing support to a devastated community.
Mark Rouse, Project Coordinator for Supporting Our Community, said:“Supporting our Community are delighted to win the celebrating communities award. We are only able to achieve this thanks to all the people who have supported us, the dedication and hard work of all our staff and volunteers and to positive and strong partnerships we have developed.”
Terrific trustee –Nigel Over (The Smith-Magenis Syndrome SMS Foundation UK)
In 2002 Nigel stepped away from his career to care for his son who has Smith-Magenis Syndrome, and since 2012 has been on the Board of The Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) Foundation UK where he has brought vision and practical solutions to resolve the challenges that existed within the organisation.
Nigel said: “I was absolutely thrilled to have been nominated for the SCVO Terrific Trustee Award. To win this award is quite overwhelming. Thank you to Hazel Wotherspoon, our chairperson, who twisted my arm to join the Board of the Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) Foundation UK back in 2012, and the trustees who have tirelessly dedicated the time to the charity. Together we have not only saved the Foundation but have turned it into a highly respected genetic disorder charity in Scotland, throughout the UK and across the World. I joined to make a difference in the lives of those who live with Smith-Magenis syndrome. Winning this award is testament that we are heading in the right direction. Thank you.”
Demonstrating digital –Simon Community Scotland
Despite a restructure, launching new services, merging with Streetwork and closing three services due to budget cuts, this year Simon Community Scotland managed to almost eradicate rough sleeping in Glasgow and Edinburgh, helping 2,500 people take positive action towards safety, stability and recovery, often for the first time in years. Volunteer and employee applications have increased, and income has gone up by 300% despite having no fundraising posts.
Lorraine McGrath, CEO of Simon Community Scotland, said: “I am delighted to receive the Demonstrating Digital award. Sadly this initiative has been born from tragedy and it’s that very loss of life that we are seeking to prevent. This award helps to raise awareness of the challenges and possible solutions to drug overdoses, something we can use but crucially share with others.”
A special commendation was also made in this category to Community Transport Glasgow
Charity of the year –Simon Community Scotland
Simon Community Scotland landed a doubler this year, winning not just Demonstrating digital, but Charity of the Year too:
Lorraine McGrath, CEO of Simon Community Scotland, said: “I can’t describe just how fantastic it is to be awarded charity of the year. Our staff, volunteers and the people we support are amazing in so many ways and on so many days and it is their compassion, commitment and humanity that is being recognised. We are one team and on behalf of the Simon Community Team thank you for his award and thank you to everyone who supports us to change lives.”
A special commendation was also made in this category to Moira Anderson Foundation.
People’s Choice Award –My Name’5 Doddie Foundation
Since his diagnosis with motor neuron disease (MND) in December 2016, Doddie Weir OBE has inspired people every day with his positive approach to life and determination to make a difference. My Name’5 Doddie Foundation has now committed more than £4 million to research projects to help find meaningful treatments and a cure for motor neuron disease and to offer practical support to those affected by this terrible disease.
Jill Douglas, CEO of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award and would like to thank everyone who took the time and effort to vote for us. It is just amazing to be able to share this with the thousands of people who have supported us since our launch in November 2017. Doddie continues to inspire us every day and we are determined to do all we can to help rid the world of motor neuron disease and help patients who are given this terrible diagnosis.”