Charities and voluntary organisations can now enter the Scottish Charity Awards 2017
A dozen women from a dozen differen backgrounds collected the award for Scottish Charity of the Year 2016, reflecting the diversity that sees their organisation Saheliya support nearly 1,000 women from black or minority ethnic backgrounds in 28 languages every year.
Winning proved to be a massive boost for staff and the women who depend on Saheliya to help them overcome mental health problems. They come to the charity with issues stemming from trauma, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, amongst other things, and gain friendship, confidence and the skills to move on with their lives.
Scottish Charity Award organisers the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) this week starts the search for the most innovative and inspiring charities of 2017. It is seeking entries for a range of categories (see box) to help ensure more charities can benefit from the recognition of becoming a finalist or winner.
Winning Scottish Charity of the Year made a tremendous difference to Saheliya, says its chief executive Alison Davis.
“We are taken a little more seriously by some mainstream agencies and it has been motivational for Saheliya’s already very dedicated and hard-working staff,” said Davis.
“It showed the Saheliya staff that other people too understand why we do the work we do; now the daily hard slog, dealing with risk and trauma and injustice, coupled with strapped resources and short-term funding, feels a bit more acknowledged, the weight on our shoulders a little lighter. That’s an important outcome.”
Scottish Charity Awards 2017 categories
Charity of the year – an organisation that has enjoyed an exceptional year, sponsored by Keegan & Pennykid Insurance Brokers
Celebrating communities – an outstanding grassroots or community initiative
Cracking campaign – a strong awareness raising or fundraising campaign, sponsored by SGN
Charity champion – someone who has demonstrated great dedication to a cause
Demonstrating digital – a groundbreaking digital organisation or project, sponsored by Digital Scotland
Leading light – an employee whose dedication is reaping rewards for their organisation
Pioneering project – an innovative project that has made a huge difference
Terrific trustee – a board member who really excels, sponsored by OSCR
People’s choice – the public vote on all the finalists, sponsored by CAF
Other 2016 winners have also gone from strength to strength, including campaign of the year Disabled Access Day, which is running again in 2017 this weekend.
Created by Edinburgh based Euan’s Guide, the TripAdvisor for the disability sector, Disabled Access Day sees sites and venues across the whole of the UK celebrate and boost disability access.
Paul Ralph, founder of Disabled Access Day, said: “Disabled Access Day created opportunities for disabled people, their friends and families to try something new with over 1,000 places and 10,000 people coming together to celebrate great accessibility.
“The campaign to achieve this was digital and reached out to so many people so we were delighted when we won the Scottish Charity Award Cracking Campaign award. The recognition of our campaign through the award helped us to reach out to even more people as we moved toward Disabled Access Day 2017.”
Chris Martin, chief executive of Callander Youth Project Trust, won the inaugural Excpetional Employee award in 2016. He said it opened funding doors that made his own and the charity's development easier.
“It’s fair to say it has been easier to leverage funding as a result of getting the award. I was lucky enough to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum in Hong Kong last year and as Exceptional Employee I was able to access funding to allow a research trip.
“The Scottish Charity Awards are high profile and a great way to celebrate accomplishments within the sector; it was a great experience to share the stage with colleagues in the sector and celebrate their successes.”
This year nine awards will be given out at the ceremony at Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre on 22 June.
Martin Sime, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “The Scottish Charity Awards is one of the most inspiring and rewarding nights in my year. And I believe in 2017, it is as important as ever to celebrate everything charities and voluntary organisations do to make Scotland stronger.
“We’ve created a range of awards that reflect staff, volunteer and organisational success this year. I would urge organisations to take the time to apply to give your charity and everyone involved a deserved pat on the back.”
Enter at scvo.org.uk/awards