The stars were out at the Scottish voluntary sector’s event of the year
The winners of the 2021 Scottish Charity Awards have been revealed.
The annual awards ceremony dedicated to recognising Scotland’s voluntary sector was streamed live this evening (Friday 1 October) in a glittering online event hosted by Sally Magnusson from the EICC in Edinburgh.
Run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Scottish Charity Awards celebrates the best of the voluntary sector and this year’s shortlist included 47 individuals and organisations from charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the country.
The winner of each of the nine categories was decided by a judging panel, with the tenth People’s Choice category winner decided by the public, with over 12,000 votes cast.
This year’s event was extra special as it was the first time the awards has fully recognised the sector’s response to Covid-19.
It was a memorable evening for Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity, which scooped both the Charity of the Year and People’s Choice Awards.
The charity displayed innovation and dedication in its support for children and their families, ensuring that they felt safe no matter what the restrictions were.
The charity’s Victoria Buchanan said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be named Charity of the Year and People’s Choice winner at the Scottish Charity Awards 2021! Through the tightest Covid restrictions and a hospital move; ECHC was privileged to stand alongside those ill, injured and shielding at home.
“From emergency care packs, silent discos, giant inflatable octopuses and record-breaking fundraising appeals, we pulled out all the stops to continue to bring fun, comfort and friendship to wards and waiting rooms and ease worries during one of the toughest years families have faced. None of this would have been possible without the incredible dedication of our supporters, partners, staff and volunteers. This award is recognition of their phenomenal efforts to ensure children in hospital could be children first, patients second, even in a global pandemic.”
Viewers tuned in on the SCVO website and YouTube to watch the finalists appear live as the awards were handed out, with messages of support shown from Still Game’s Sanjeev Kohli, Scotland rugby star Finn Russell, Liverpool and Scotland’s Andy Robertson and Breaking Bad actor Laura Fraser.
The Campaign of the year award went to Stop It Now! Scotland, for its Get Help or Get Caught initiative. The campaign saw 79,000 people visit the team’s website and 185 people access specialist self-help resources designed for people who are worried about their own online behaviour towards children and young people.
Scottish Charity Awards 2021
Campaign of the year - Stop It Now! Scotland - Get Help or Get Caught
(Special commendation Aberlour Children’s Charity - Aberlour Urgent Assistance Fund)
Volunteer of the year - Central and West Integration Network - Shawn Nicholas Fernandez
(Special commendation Bob MacKenzie - Cumbernauld Action on Care of the Elderly)
Pioneering project - Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs - Click and Deliver Naloxone
Employee of the year - Carers Trust Scotland - Nicola Bell
(Special commendation Fiona Mitchell - Harlawhill Day Care Centre)
Community Action - Cumbernauld Resilience
Climate Conscious - Forth Valley Sensory Centre - Making Sense of Energy Saving
Trustee of the year - Linkes (SCIO) - Robert Smith
(Special commendation Julia Grindley - Edinburgh School Uniform Bank)
Digital citizens - People Know How
(Special commendation Space - The Louise Project)
Charity of the year and People’s Choice Award - Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity (ECHC)
(Special commendation in the Charity of the Year category for Scran Academy SCIO)
Stuart Allardyce, director of Stop It Now! Scotland, said: “As a child protection charity, our aim at Stop It Now! Scotland is to prevent children from being sexually abused, whether that’s online or offline. Child sexual abuse affects one in six children across the UK, and the number of adults posing a threat to children is growing. Our campaign is one way to tackle that problem, by telling adults who are offending or who might offend about the harm they cause, the consequences, and the support our helpline and website provide to stop their illegal behavior.”
Shawn Nicholas Fernandez, of the Central and West Integration Network, was named Volunteer of the Year. He successfully made an impact in communities across Glasgow by delivering Cyber Crime Prevention Awareness Workshops and also creating a space through a community gardening project to help refugees by encouraging them to spend more time in nature to benefit their mental health and wellbeing.
He said: “By winning this award, I hope it will be an eye opener and encouragement for other volunteers especially those that are socially excluded. Nothing is impossible if we put our minds to it. Every organisation should recognise their volunteers and their contributions to the community because they are the cornerstone and should be rewarded.
“Circumstances in life may not always turn out the way we want it to be. Life may not be as smooth as we want it to be. But hard work, dedication and perseverance goes a long way."
Click and Deliver, by Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, was selected for the Pioneering project award. From May 2020 until March 2021, the team issued 295 naloxone kits, a life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdose, providing vital time to call an ambulance, potentially saving 295 lives.
Chief executive Justina Murray said: “We are absolutely delighted to win the Pioneering Project Award. This life saving project was set up in a matter of days, at the height of lockdown and we are so proud of it. Our colleague Suzanne Gallagher has done an awe inspiring job of running this service from her front room, delivering 743 kits and counting. Thanks also need to go to Kirsten Horsburgh and our friends at Scottish Drugs Forum for everything they have done to help create and promote this service.”
Nicola Bell, of Carers Trust Scotland, was the recipient of the Employee of the year award.
Working with young carers, she set up #Supermarkets4Change, campaigning to raise awareness of unpaid carers with supermarkets to include young carers in the protected hours set aside for vulnerable people to shop.
She said: “To all the incredible young carers and young adult carers – thank you! I feel very proud to work with such inspiring colleagues, services and young people each day.”
Cumbernauld Resilience, which was established in March 2020 as a community-based response to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, won the Community Action category. The group united people from all over Cumbernauld from a diverse demographic to reach out and help their neighbours. The team has over 120 volunteers who have freely given their time, expertise and commitment to distribute over 90,000 meals and other essentials to locals – even hosting Christmas celebrations for over 600 people.
Chair Tony Murphy said: “As a relatively new charity, we are humbled and delighted to have been recognised in this way. We are especially delighted to have won in the Community Action Category as, from the outset, Cumbernauld Resilience’s ethos has been about mobilising the wonderful community spirit that exists in our town to help those in need.
“Thank you so much to every supporter, donor and volunteer – without your unbelievable support and unselfish commitment we really wouldn't have been able to reach out and help so many in our community during their hour of need.”
The new Climate Conscious award went to Forth Valley Sensory Centre for its Making Sense of Energy Saving project.
The project helped people cut their energy bills, despite the pandemic, but also secured new heating systems, warmer home payments and even new windows for a number of deaf and blind people who were struggling to heat their homes and pay their bills. On top of this, with the change to LED lighting in the centre and the advice provided to centre users in braille, workshops, accessible video and BSL, it saved the equivalent of 300 tonnes of CO2.
Chief executive Jacquie Winning said: “This award covers two of the biggest issues in today’s society, accessibility and the climate emergency. Thank you to everyone who supported us and to the staff at our centre for making such an innovative project come to fruition!”
Robert Smith, of Linkes in Glasgow, was named Trustee of the year. He is the co-founder and driving force of Linkes community project (2006), serving as chairperson to promote integration, empowerment and social inclusion. In response to the pandemic, he was visionary and determined, quickly building alliances to set-up a food distribution project.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award. It’s not something I expected as the other finalists have all achieved incredible things and I’d like to congratulate them on their work. I would also like to thank the amazing team of staff, board and volunteers at Linkes, our partners and funders and everyone else in the community who contributes to what we do. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in what has been an extremely difficult year and on behalf of the team at Linkes, I’d like to say a big thank you for this award.”
People Know How gained the Digital citizens award. Over the last year the team has provided devices, digital skills and connectivity to thousands of people across Edinburgh and East Lothian. In doing so, the team has helped people stay connected with loved ones, access support and home-school their children.
Claudia Baldacchino, the charity’s communications and IT officer, said: “We’re so proud of our volunteers and staff for achieving so much over the last year, supporting thousands of people with devices, digital skills and connectivity.
“We’d also like to thank all our partners and funders who have made this work possible through their support and collaboration. We will continue to combat data poverty and digital exclusion as we recover from the pandemic and beyond, and can’t wait to see what the future brings.”
Anna Fowlie, chief executive of SCVO, said: “At SCVO we know that fantastic work is going on all the time in the voluntary sector and we were delighted to celebrate the achievements and successes of our finalists and winners at this year’s Scottish Charity Awards.
“We had a record-breaking number of entries this year and each one demonstrated just how well the voluntary sector has responded and adapted to changes and restrictions over the past 12 months. Thanks to our sponsors, the team at the EICC, our host Sally Magnusson and everyone who applied and voted for making this year’s awards so special. Congratulations to our winners for 2021!”
See October’s TFN magazine for a full report and pictures from the awards.