SCVO media release
9 June 2016

Charities and people right across Scotland have been celebrated for the life-changing difference they make at the 2016 Scottish Charity Awards, which took place at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on 9 June.

Shulah Allan, Convener of Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), which organises the awards, said:

“I’m in awe of all the finalists and winners. Thanks to their efforts, more people in Scotland are receiving the support they need when they need it and we’re all more aware of important issues, and causes, which affect vulnerable people, and us all.”

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance, who attended the awards, said: “Congratulations to all the nominees and winners who have been rightly recognised for their hard work at the SCVO’s Charity Awards.

“From inspirational campaigns, to exceptional employees, the awards are a fantastic way to recognise third sector organisations and say thank you to the people that are making a real difference to communities across Scotland.”

The winners are:

  • Charity of the Year: Saheliya

Edinburgh-based Saheliya provides a mental wellbeing service for Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) women experiencing mental health issues caused by trauma and living within oppressive cultural practices, including forced marriage, honour based violence, physical, mental and financial abuse, and female genital mutilation.

Pervin Ahmed from Saheliya said: “Saheliya would like to say how delighted we are to win this prestigious award and to send a big thank you to our dedicated and hardworking staff and volunteers in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We would also like to thank our funding and strategic partners for their continued support enabling us to develop our services over the last year.”

  • Celebrating Communities: Friends of Oban Community Playpark

This group created an inclusive outdoor active playpark for children aged 2 – 15 years in Oban. Over 40% of the funds for the park were raised by the local community.

Elizabeth Cottier from Friends of Oban Community Playpark said: “We are so delighted to win this amazing award. We could not have done this without the support of the whole of Oban and the surrounding villages, a fantastic community that really pulled out all the stops to support the fundraising in so many inspiring ways! We must also mention the unfaltering dedication of our Chair, Lyndsay Elliott, the rest of the committee members and all the support we have received from Argyll and Bute Council, Atlantis Leisure, Wicksteed Ltd, Sport Scotland and the many other charities that provided us with funding.”

  • Charity Champions: Gordon Aikman & Lucy Lintott, MND Scotland

Despite a devastating Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis, Gordon, aged 31 from Fife has fought back against the condition. His tireless and selfless campaigning has raised over half a million pounds for research into a cure and his campaign has transformed patient care by doubling the number of MND nurses and guaranteeing access to life-changing voice equipment.

Gordon Aikman, MND Scotland, said: “I am absolutely delighted to win this award and would like to dedicate it to everybody who is fighting Motor Neurone Disease. I could not have done this alone. I am immensely grateful to everybody who has got behind my campaign, including all of Scotland’s party leaders who have united on this issue. Our next challenge is to ensure pre-election promises are kept, starting with the creation of three research PhDs into MND. The sooner they start, the sooner we can find a cure and start saving lives.”

Lucy, aged 21, from Fochabers volunteers with MND Scotland, raising funds for research into Motor Neurone Disease. She started ‘Lucy’s fight’ as a way to share her own battle against Motor Neurone Disease in an honest and frank way. Sharing her story has led to her raising over £100,000 for MND Scotland, walking The Speyside Way, scuba diving, flying a plane and speaking to an audience of 1,000.

Lucy said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to my family and friends for supporting me through everything, I know it’s not been easy. Thank you to everyone in my community who’s supported me and kept me going. I hope this shows everyone with MND or a terminal illness that you can still have a life after diagnosis. I’d like to dedicate this award to my friend Spirit who passed away recently, I miss you.”

  • Lucy also secured the most public votes, with a more than 4,100 people choosing her as the winner of the People’s Choice Award.
  • Exceptional Employee: Chris Martin – Callander Youth Project Trust

Chris, Callander, is committed to ensuring young people are at the core of every project, event and service delivered by Callander Youth Project Trust (CYPT). He has launched a number of social enterprises, including the 5-star Callander Hostel and Bridgend Café, creating employment and training opportunities for young people, and generating income for the charity.

Chris said: “I am both humbled and delighted to have won Exceptional Employee at this year’s Scottish Charity Awards. I am happy to work tirelessly in my role as I am a strong advocate of the fact that youth work changes lives and, as a product of good quality youth work myself, I am keen to facilitate opportunities for young people to engage with local youth work services.”

  • Cracking Campaign: Disabled Access Day – Euan’s Guide

Disabled people should have the confidence to visit somewhere new, without worrying about accessibility. That’s what Disabled Access Day is all about. The annual event took place on 12 March this year across the UK and beyond, with more than 10,000 disabled people, their friends and family, taking the opportunity to visit one of the 1,067 venues that took part.

Paul Ralph, from Disabled Access Day, said: “As founder of Disabled Access Day, I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the many disabled people, their friends and families, that shouted about the day and took part in the many events across Scotland, the United Kingdom and beyond on the 12th of March. Such public recognition is much appreciated as we look forward to Disabled Access Day 2017.”

  • Perfect Partnership: Macmillan Cancer Support and Glasgow Life

Macmillan Cancer Support, along with Glasgow Life and other providers, has developed eight programmes in Glasgow to make sure that no patient, carer, friend or family member faces cancer alone. Offering needs assessments, benefits advice, physical activity programmes, a clothes/wig bank, financial support and a range of complementary therapies and counselling, the partnership has improved the cancer journey of more than 20,000 Glaswegians.

Janice Preston, Macmillan Services Scotland, said: “We would like to say how delighted we are to win such a prestigious award. Macmillan Cancer Support, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone in Glasgow. We couldn’t have achieved all that we have without such supportive partnerships with clear visions on the outcomes. Putting the people affected by cancer at the heart of all our service delivery.”

  • Digital Dynamo: The Libertie Project Limited

This women-led micro social enterprise in Inverness provides ceramic and craft workshops for offenders, and a digital café with free internet access for homeless people. It also offers basic online training and digital life skills to improve people’s employability. Last year, it organised 372 workshops and provided 1,820 hours of support, helping people feel more in control of their lives.

Liberty Bligh, from the Libertie Project Limited, said: “We’re totally chuffed to have won an award and a wee bit humbled that our micro social enterprise in the Highlands has been recognised for the work we do to help others. It might sound simple but we believe if you see a need, you should meet a need, no bells and whistles, just a splash of creativity and a real impact… and none of this would have been possible without the dedication and commitment from our staff, volunteers and the people we support in and out of prison.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national membership body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.9 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations. For more on SCVO see
  2. The Scottish Charity Awards, which are free to enter, are organised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and recognise the life-changing work of charities, community groups and heroes right across Scotland.
  3. For media queries, please call Charlotte McNeill at SCVO on 07790 601 995