Simon Community Scotland was named Charity of the Year, with a host of other organisations picking up awards at the online extravaganza #NeverMoreNeeded
The winners of the Scottish Charity Awards 2020 have been revealed.
Simon Community Scotland were named Charity of the Year at this evening’s ceremony (25 Sept), which took place as an online extravaganza due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The homeless charity also scooped the Demonstrating Digital Award, and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation picked up the People’s Choice Award.
Run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the awards celebrate the best of Scotland’s voluntary sector. Due to the impact of coronavirus, this year the awards were held in an entirely online ceremony so that all finalists and attendees who wanted to attend were still able to join the celebrations in a safe way. Hosted by Sally Magnusson, an array of stars made guest appearances on screen such as Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro, rugby star Finn Russell, Lorraine Kelly and Line of Duty’s Martin Compston.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivered a special message marking the unbelievable achievements of the finalists and the sector as a whole, and the award winners joined the ceremony live throughout the night.
Simon Community were selected as Charity of the Year and the Demonstrating Digital Award for their amazing work in almost eradicating rough sleeping in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
A spokesperson said: “I can't describe just how fantastic it is to be awarded Charity of the Year. Our staff, volunteers and the people we support are amazing in so many ways and on so many days and it is their compassion, commitment and humanity that is being recognised. We are one team and on behalf of the Simon Community team thank you for his award and thank you to everyone who supports us to change lives.”
The Coalition for Equal Protection (Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st, NSPCC Scotland) gained the Cracking Campaign Award. The coalition of charities was formed to publish research on the negative effects of physical punishment on children, give evidence and campaign alongside children and families, and support John Finnie MSP’s Member’s Bill to remove the ‘justifiable assault’ defence from Scots Law. The coalition succeeded and Scotland became the first country in the UK to end the physical punishment of children.
Elaine McHugh, of Beatson Cancer Charity, was named Charity Champion. She has raised more than £300,000 in memory of her daughter Eilidh, who passed away from a rare form of cancer aged just 22.
She said: “This has been an incredibly difficult time for all charities and I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of Beatson Cancer Charity, #TeamEilidh, my husband Michael and my very special daughter Kerry. I believe Eilidh was really looking down on me when I won – Eilidh’s name means ‘Light’ and her light continues to shine through and directs us all in her name.”
The Pioneering Project Award went to Autism-Friendly Rugby (Strathmore Community Rugby Trust). This unique project aims to increase the physical activity levels of children with autism, improve their social and emotional skills, reduce isolation for not only the participants but also their parents/carers, and increase the knowledge of coaches and volunteers on delivering rugby for all.
Bridie Ashrowan, of The Broomhouse Centre/Space, was recognised as Leading Light. She headed up of a new £3.2m community hub in late 2019 in an area of high in-work poverty. She said: “I would like to say how humbled I am to win this award, however, I am delighted for the people of our community and organisation, I have only been able to achieve this thanks to the totally amazing team of staff, volunteers and trustees, including the caretakers, the cleaners, and the cooks and the community, who have helped kept us open since the start of Covid-19. It is to all of them I dedicate this award to.”
Supporting Our Community – a community project in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire – picked up the Celebrating Communities Award and Nigel Over, of the The Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) Foundation UK, was named Terrific Trustee. He said: “Thank you to Hazel Wotherspoon, our chairperson, who twisted my arm to join the board of the Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) Foundation UK back in 2012, and the trustees who have tirelessly dedicated the time to the charity. Together we have not only saved the foundation but have turned it into a highly respected genetic disorder charity in Scotland, throughout the UK and across the world.”
More than 27,000 votes were cast by the public in the People’s Choice category, with My Name’5 Doddie Foundation coming out on top. Since his diagnosis with motor neuron disease (MND) in December 2016, former Scotland rugby stalwart Doddie Weir OBE has inspired people every day with his positive approach to life and determination to make a difference. The charity has raised more than £4 million for research into the degenerative condition.
There will be a full report and reaction from the awards in October’s TFN magazine.