Working in policy in the third sector it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.

You spend your days trying to analyse the latest government guidance, talking to politicians about how and why their policies should change and attend endless meetings where you use terms like co-production which means little to anyone living outside the policy bubble.

Often you spend time focusing on the negatives: on funding, how to handle increasing demand and what a Bill won’t do rather than what it will.

And in amongst all of this you can sometimes forget about the great work – that you want to support and promote – which Scotland’s third sector is doing right now.

Take last week for example. I had my head buried in the Scotland Bill trying to figure out what it’s clauses mean for the sector and those we support while overusing the phrase: ‘well I’m not a constitutional lawyer but…’

Lost in this legislative forest I felt far removed from my sector, its staff and volunteers, the people we work with and from what the sector can achieve.

Thankfully on Thursday evening along came the Scottish Charity Awards to remind me of just how amazing Scotland’s third sector is.

It’s a magical night and a real credit to SCVO’s Events Team, Alex, Scott and Helen (yes, there are only three of them).

Thankfully on Thursday evening along came the Scottish Charity Awards to remind me of just how amazing Scotland’s third sector is.

On Thursday night we celebrated outstanding individual efforts, partnerships between organisations, communities coming together and the success of charity campaigning.

The diversity of our sector, which we in policy often laud in briefings and meetings, was never more evident than it was last week. Our finalists ranged from large national organisations to small community groups, representing wide range of issues including bullying, disability, dance and community gardens.

From a personal, policy, perspective it was great to see Prostate Cancer UK come away the with Cracking Campaign Award. Their campaign ‘Men United v Prostate Cancer: 5 Inequalities, 5 Solutions’ aimed to influence MSPs and the Scottish Government into taking action on inequalities related to prostate cancer.

The campaign proposed five ‘solutions’, which included changing the Scottish Government’s position on robot-assisted surgery and the introduction of a National Cancer Patient Experience Survey. Both of which the campaign successfully achieved.

Working in policy it can be hard not to become cynical (although my friends would argue I have always been). Yet seeing the achievement of Prostate Cancer UK in securing changes to policy was inspiring and reminded me it can be done.

I’m so pleased that I could be part of this year’s awards. Nights like the Scottish Charity Awards are a wonderful reminder of what ambition, strength, character – and characters – Scotland’s third sector has.

And somehow it makes wading through the Scotland Bill feel a bit less of a chore.

Check out our 2015 Scottish Charity Awards winners and seephotos from the night!