Two of our staff providing support to people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simon Community Scotland shortlisted for hat-trick of Charity Awards

Simon Community Scotland, the largest provider of homeless services in Scotland, has scooped a trio of shortlistings at the Scottish Charity Awards. 

The annual awards are organised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and celebrate the best of Scotland’s voluntary sector. Simon Community Scotland have been recognised as a finalist in three categories – Charity of the Year, Demonstrating Digital and the People’s Choice Award.  

Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive of Simon Community Scotland said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be included in the Scottish Charity Awards shortlist. 

It has been a phenomenal year for our charity, a year of change, growth, opportunity and the greatest challenges we have ever seen. We delivered a leadership restructure and were delighted to join with Streetwork – Edinburgh’s largest street outreach service that helps find safe places for people who are rough sleeping.  Sadly we also closed three services due to budget cuts, however we managed to offer all staff affected the chance to stay part of our team. 

We are proud to have developed and implemented our digital health solution, a sensor system which alerts staff when someone is at risk of overdosing. It’s saving lives and is the first of its kind in the UK. 

The Covid19 pandemic brought the greatest risks and challenges we’ve ever seen, but it also created many opportunities to help people facing homelessness to find safety, stability and recovery. Over the first four months of lockdown, our staff, volunteers and partners supported 2,500 people experiencing homelessness or the risk of homelessness, including working with our partners to virtually eradicate rough sleeping during the first 14 days of lockdown from the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh, for the first time in decades.

I have ran out of ways to express how amazing our teams have been. Their commitment, and drive to keep every service running, offer every person safety and support and exceed all our  expectations of what was going to possible in such difficult circumstances has been exemplary. I am so delighted all of this is being recognised by being shortlisted in the Scottish Charity Awards, particularly as Charity of the Year.” 

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO said: “Much of the work celebrated this year predates the pandemic.  All aspects of our lives have been disrupted in 2020. Our communities and the charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises they rely on have been under enormous pressure. Scotland’s voluntary sector has never been more needed and will be essential to Scotland’s recovery. At SCVO we know that fantastic work is going on all the time and we are delighted to celebrate these achievements and successes through the Scottish Charity Awards.

“This year’s shortlist of 45 finalists showcases just how diverse our voluntary sector is, and highlights the fantastic work that has been going on across the country since the last Awards until March this year. The Awards are a great way of celebrating and recognising the people and organisations who make our voluntary sector a crucial part of every part of life in Scotland. Our finalists are fantastic and I would encourage everyone to support their favourite by voting in the People’s Choice Award.”If you would like to vote for Simon Community Scotland as Charity of Year and your People’s Choice for 2020, visit www.scvo.org.uk/vote – before 5pm on Friday 4 September 2020.