Drake Music Scotland was named Charity of the Year, with a record amount of votes polled for the People's Choice Award
The top charities in Scotland have been named at a glittering awards ceremony.
The Scottish Charity Awards took place last night (Friday, 14 June) at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Organised annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the awards celebrate the amazing work that people within charities and community groups do every day, all over the country, to help those in need and raise awareness of important causes.
Drake Music Scotland, which supports over 1,000 disabled children and adults to play music, picked up the Charity of the Year Award. The Edinburgh-based organisation had a bumper year in 2018, marking its 20th anniversary with its digital orchestra travelling to Singapore to perform on the international stage for the first time, playing in front of an audience of over 10,000.
The charity is helping to develop a range of music instrument technologies which are played by movements of the eyes, facial muscles and even brainwaves.
Thursa Sanderson OBE, Drake Music Scotland chief executive, said: “We're absolutely delighted to be chosen as Scottish Charity of the Year. Last year was our 20th anniversary and a huge year for us with our digital orchestra trip to Singapore taking the message to the world that disabled people make great music.
“We'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us in any way over the years, our staff, our fantastic team of musicians, board, volunteers and our wonderful partners.”
The night saw Drake Music play a special performance for guests, with cabinet secretary for communities and local government Aileen Campbell among those handing out awards.
Thousands of votes were cast for the People’s Choice Award, which was won by Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).
David Craig, chief executive of SCAA, said: “SCAA is the people's helicopter air ambulance - funded by the people of Scotland, for the people of Scotland. Now, to be voted the People's Choice charity in Scotland, is overwhelming.
“Thank you to everyone who voted for Scotland's only charity-funded air ambulance - we're there for everyone in Scotland and it's humbling to see that the public is always there for us. This award means the world to everyone at SCAA and we will take great pride in being your choice charity for 2019.”
Toni Giugliano, of the Mental Health Foundation, was named Leading Light for his work on suicide prevention and Laura Reid of Support in Mind Scotland won the Charity Champion Award.
Reid’s son Calum was 21 when he took his own life after struggling with mental illness. In response to this tragedy, she has embarked on an admirable campaign of positivity, rallying support and raising mental health awareness and funds for Support in Mind Scotland.
Colin Leslie, fundraising and communications manager at the charity, said: “We are absolutely thrilled and proud that Laura has won the prestigious Charity Champion award, particularly when you see from the other finalists just how much amazing work is going on across Scotland in the third sector. Laura and her family suffered a tragic loss when her son Calum took his own life, but she has campaigned with great positivity and determination to support mental health awareness and to help others people living with mental illness.”
Marie Curie and MND Scotland gained the Cracking Campaign Award for their work on the Social Security in Scotland campaign and Move On was named Pioneering Project for its Family Food Service.
Celebrating Communities went to Give a Dog a Bone… and an animal a home; Megan Sutherland of Who Cares? Scotland picked up Terrific Trustee; and Enable Scotland won the Demonstrating Digital Award.
Anna Fowlie, chief executive of SCVO, said: “A huge congratulations to our winners and all of this year’s finalists.
“Each of the 44 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 to both recognise and celebrate their achievements.
“We received a record-breaking 34,810 votes for the People’s Choice Award so I would also like to thank all those who contributed to the evening by voting for their favourite person or organisation.”