Leading Scottish homeless charities merge

Crop homeless edinburgh

A homeless woman on the streets of Edinburgh.

The charities have joined forces in tackling homelessness, combining the two largest street outreach teams in the country

Graham Martin's photo

11th April 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Two of Scotland's leading homeless charities have become one unified organisation. 

The charities have joined forces in tackling homelessness, combining the two largest street outreach teams in the country.

Following a unique collaboration which saw Glasgow-based Simon Community Scotland and Edinburgh’s Streetwork share a chief executive for over 18 months, they have now formally come together. 

They will emerge as a stronger influence in homelessness with no other organisation reaching more people who have nowhere safe or secure to call home in Scotland.

Streetwork retains its name and identity in Edinburgh and the Lothians, but the charities have brought their values and resources under the single Simon Community Scotland banner.

Bringing together over 80 years of experience, profile and expertise to fuel greater impact and new solutions for those affected by homelessness in Scotland, with a combined reach of over 5,000 people per year.

Linda Holden, Streetwork chair, said: “When we started to look for a partnership we wanted to find an organisation which had shared values but was operating in a different geographical area so that we were not competing for work but actually adding value to the sector. Simon Community Scotland fit the criteria perfectly.”

She added that no jobs were lost during the merger and the charities had maximum support from staff.

Linda said: “At every stage, we had to ask ourselves what is best for our service users. There is no room for agendas, internal politics or egos in this process and we have worked hard to find outcomes which work for the service users and allow us to become one organisation without compromising on that.

“Both boards have been involved every step of the way but the true hard work has been done by the leadership team who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we completed the transition on time and with the minimum change visible to people using our services.”

Mary Craig, Simon Community Scotland chair, said: “This amalgamation allows us to extend the work that both organisations offer and combine our competencies. There is a great deal that Simon Community Scotland can learn from Streetwork and vice versa. We are sure that being one integrated team will help both organisations thrive and produce even greater outcomes for those affected by homelessness."

Simon Community Scotland chief executive Lorraine McGrath said: “Our aim is simply to do as much good as we can, continuing to look at where the gaps are and where there are new opportunities to test out something different, with and for the people we support across all the areas we work in. Our greatest potential lies in continuing to build new and wider collaborations with organisations that reach well beyond homelessness and social care.”