Challenging the causes and effects of homelessness, that’s not only the mission of the Simon Community but the personal driver for Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive of Scotland’s largest charity dedicated to supporting people at risk of and experiencing homelessness. The charity has been delivering care and support on the streets for over 50 years and now reaches over 3000 people a year.
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for the Simon Community. In 2011 the organisation almost closed its doors. Lorraine stepped in as Chief Executive with a passion and a commitment she knew was inherent in the staff, volunteers and service users who made the Simon Community and with this energy took to turning the ship around.
Lorraine took the opportunity to re-evaluate the charity and began a process of modernisation whilst retro-fitting the organisation back to it’s core values. The result has been an organisation that has embedded quality improvement into its core achieving Committed to Excellence last year, substantially grown the organisation to become Scotland’s largest specialist provider of support to people experiencing homelessness, built a solid financial platform bringing security and stability and has built a reputation as an innovative can-do organisation.
Today the Simon Community are going from strength to strength driven by passion and compassion at every point of the organisation. The charity continues to innovate and find solutions most recently with Lorraine launching Period Friendly Points, an initiative designed to address the challenges homeless women experience when having their period and in September Street Cycles will launch. A team of cyclists working with the Glasgow Street Team to reach rough sleepers and vulnerable people around the City, the first of its kind in the UK.
Lorraine views this nomination as a recognition of the efforts and work of the team at Simon Community. Lorraine said of the nomination ‘I’m delighted to have been nominated for Services to Charity/Third Sector category. I’m immensely proud of the work that our staff do and I feel privileged to lead an organisation that genuinely changes lives.’