Cash grabbing awards company targets charities - again

Creative oceanic

Senior charity figures have been contacted by Creative Oceanic, telling them they’ve been “nominated” for a Scottish Diversity Award

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25th January 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A private company is once again targeting Scotland’s third sector with a money-raking awards ceremony.

Over the past week, senior charity figures have been contacted by Creative Oceanic, telling them they’ve been “nominated” for a Scottish Diversity Award.

However, there have been warnings about taking part, based around concerns about the company’s business model and about the nomination process - or whether there even was one.

Creative Oceanic sets up ceremonies for the likes of the wedding and hairdressing industries and in 2017, TFN revealed that it had started targeting Scotland’s third sector as it sees it as a lucrative market.

Spokesman Joe Kahn told us: “We are here to make money, let me make that absolutely clear. We are a private company. We identify new markets we can target, we have the event to pay for, we have to make sure that everything is being done properly. That’s out in the open, it’s not something we hide behind. We run projects to make money.”

It didn’t target the third sector last year – setting up the Scottish Women’s Awards instead, which were duly boycotted by leading figures and organisations amid accusations of money-raking.

However, the Scottish Diversity Awards re-emerged in mid-January when posts appeared on a Facebook page.

This was followed by calls to those allegedly nominated.

Details of this year’s event are still unclear – but based on how it operated at 2017, when it staged a ceremony at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow, charities and individuals will be charged around £75 per head to attend.

The winners will come from a vast list of categories and nominees – for example, in 2017 there were 28 categories each featuring around 10 nominees.

Last year’s Women’s Awards featured an astonishing 32 categories. For context the last Scottish Charity Awards, run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), had nine categories.

Creative Oceanic has consistently failed to provide details about its nomination process – in 2017, when pressed by TFN, Mr Khan said nominations are sought across Oceanic's "social media channels" before they are shortlisted, but did not provide further details.

TFN couldn’t find much evidence of social media sourcing – apart from a now closed surveymonkey link which appeared on Facebook last September.

This week, third sector figures took to social media issuing warnings about taking part.

James Coltham at Creative Scotland tweeted: “If your charity or third sector org has apparently been nominated for an award you've not heard of, approach with caution! Looks like they're doing the rounds again.”

Dave Scott, campaigns director of anti-sectarianism charity Nil By Mouth said: “We were 'nomimated’ last year. Group was told in no uncertain terms to remove our name from any material. It’s a farce and charity folk should know better than to indulge them.”

The likes of Inclusion Scotland, SCVO and Engender have also spoken out about Creative Oceanic and its tactics.

It also looks like the company will attempt to run the Scottish Women's Awards again this year – as a recently updated facebook picture shows a logo for a 2019 event.

A statement issued by the Scottish Diversity Awards failed to address how its nominations process works, even though TFN specifically asked this.

It also failed to reveal how many categories and nominations there will be this year.

The statement read: “This is the second year of this awards ceremony and we are delighted that some of the previous winners have agreed to judge all of this year's nominees.

“Our first awards ceremony to celebrate diversity and inclusion in Scotland was very successful.

“The success of our inaugural attempt to do so proved this to be the case and provided the impetus for us to do it again with some changed categories.

“All of the winners were thrilled to be recognised for their efforts and spoke in glowing terms about the event and the need for it.

“At the same time we raised the magnificent sum of £2,500 for charity.

“This year any nominee representing a registered charity will receive two free tickets.

"We believe now, more than ever, diversity and social inclusion needs to be recognised and celebrated in Scotland.

“We will be announcing a charity partner soon for 2019.”