We announced the winners of the Scottish Charity Awards 2023 at a celebratory awards ceremony, hosted by Sally Magnusson at the Sheraton Hotel, Edinburgh on Friday 23rd June.
Run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Scottish Charity Awards celebrates the best of the voluntary sector and this year’s shortlist included 32 individuals and organisations from charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the country.
Huge congratulations to all our winners and finalists. Read all about our winners:
Polish men in Scotland are twice as likely to die by suicide than Scots, due to stigma and reluctance to seek help. Feniks’ Shed Your Armour, Show The Scars campaign addressed this staggering statistic, successfully transforming attitudes towards men’s mental health. Through social media, the campaign engaged with over 20,000 people within the Polish community, reaching men struggling with their mental health and directing them to life-saving support.
Magda Czarnecka, chief executive, Feniks said: "Winning the Scottish Charity Awards' Campaign of the Year category is a humbling and exhilarating experience. This victory is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our Community Ambassadors, who dedicated their time and skills to address the most stigmatized challenge within the Polish community. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners, See Me Scotland, who believed in our cause and stood beside us on this inspiring journey. Our appreciation goes out to the Scottish Charity Awards for recognising our campaign, and we are honoured to be among such exceptional organisations making a difference in the lives of others. This award strengthens our commitment to continue advocating for change and creating a brighter future for the Polish community in Scotland."
Last year, Diversified’s Kaydi, became one of the youngest autistic charity CEOs in the UK at 15 years old. Determined Kaydi didn’t let her age prevent her from achieving her vision, and she successfully opened the first youth facility of its kind in Scotland, designed and led by people with autism. Thanks to Diversified’s hub and specialist services, neurodivergent young people in West Lothian can improve their confidence, wellbeing and skills in a safe space designed specifically for their needs.
Kaydi Scottsville, CEO, Diversified said: "We are absolutely thrilled to receive this incredible and prestigious award! Autistic young people often don't get the same opportunities as their peers so to be the first fully autistic youth led charity to be recognised at this level and win this award, is one of the biggest achievements for our neurodivergent youth community. Thank you to every single person, organisation and funder who has supported us and our journey to where we are now, we couldn't have done it without you and we cannot be more grateful!"
With no sustainable transport links between Strathaven and Glasgow, Climate Action Strathaven took travel into its own hands and became an official commercial bus operator. A shining example of community climate action, the charity’s community-owned coach saved 69 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in its first five months of operating and has provided a wealth of work, study and leisure opportunities for thousands of locals.
Alison Harley, programme manager, Climate Action Strathaven said: "We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. I'd like to thank the staff, trustees and volunteers of Climate Action Strathaven, local businesses who have supported us and of course our local community for making the 3C bus such a huge success."
Fresh Start Scotland is committed to working with the community for the community, tackling the cycle of repeat homelessness and poverty across Edinburgh. Thanks to insights from invaluable community researchers, the charity’s Meet & Eat initiative was brought to life. Community meals, cookery lessons, English classes and a homeware shop run alongside financial and housing services, providing invaluable knowledge, skills and support to make a better life for those living in poverty.
Biddy Kelly, managing director, Fresh Start Scotland said: "We would like to say how delighted we are to win this prestigious award. We have only been able to achieve this thanks to the thousands of people who support us, the dedication and hard work of all our staff and volunteers and to positive and supportive partnerships."
Drug deaths remain a cause of concern in Scotland, particularly amongst women. To tackle this issue, Simon Community Scotland worked directly with 100 women to understand how digital tools could keep them well and lower their risk of drug death. The charity’s successful development of the By My Side App and related digital resources, have empowered women to access support on their terms, connect with loved ones and most importantly, to stay safe.
Lorraine McGrath, CEO, Simon Community Scotland said: "We're really excited to accept this award on behalf of the partners and supporters and also the women who shaped the project into something meaningful in helping them to stay well, stay safe and stay involved. This isn't the end of our digital journey, in fact we've only just got started."
Since joining the team following his own personal journey with cancer, Paul has applied his compassion and determination to drive the growth of the charity’s Befriending Service. Paul has a natural affinity with patients and volunteers, and his steadfast commitment to the cause is demonstrated in the £100,000 he has fundraised outside of his role to support patients during their challenging journeys.
Paul Sheerin, volunteer co-ordinator, Beatson Cancer Charity said: "I’m so honoured to have won this award. Beatson Cancer Charity prides itself on supporting patients and families affected by cancer and I’m truly humbled to have been nominated in the first place. To be able to give back to the charity that saved my life gives me a great sense of satisfaction."
This creative fundraising campaign shone a light on organ donation and connected donors to the very heart of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity’s cause. During one of his hospital stays while awaiting a heart transplant, six-year-old Jack designed an extra special Christmas bauble. Hand-made by volunteers, the bauble was then sold over the festive period and successfully raised £23,000 to fund crucial support services for young patients and their families.
Kirsten Watson, CEO, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity said: "We are absolutely delighted to accept this award in honour of Jack, who captured the hearts of so many generous supporters. It means so much to the family, to our volunteers who worked on the campaign, and to everyone at Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. Thank you to everyone who voted for Jack’s Wee Snowman with the Big Heart."
Operation Protector is the first initiative of its kind in the UK tackling cuckooing, where a person’s home is taken over as a base for illegal activity. Run Arrows (a Quarriers service) in partnership with Police Scotland, social work housing
and advocacy, the project has successfully delivered education, training and initiatives like Recovery Football to address crime in the local area and help vulnerable people access life-changing support.
Justin Jansen, service manager, Quarriers said: "We are so thrilled to have won the Pioneering Project award. We would like to say a big thank you to our partners at Police Scotland and throughout Moray for coming together to make a real difference, and to our incredible staff and volunteers who are helping to change lives every day."
People in the asylum process often feel disempowered, but Vongayi proactively uses her voice to highlight the challenges they face. As Vice-Chair, someone seeking asylum and a former client of Amma herself, Vongayi has demonstrated immense competence, compassion and professionalism as a trustee, using her own unique experiences and
background to help others.
Maree Aldam, CEO, Amma Birth Companions said: "We are thrilled to receive this award and to honour the phenomenal contributions of our Trustee, Vongayi Mufara. Vongayi serves as an inspiration to all of us at Amma and it is wonderful to see her recognised in this way."
After travelling to Scotland for safety from Ukraine last year, Andrii has had a massive impact to the Libraries & Information Services Dundee. Despite facing enormous personal challenges, Andrii brings warmth and positivity to his role, going above and beyond to help others as a dedicated Digital Champion. Thanks to Andrii, the library is a more inclusive and welcoming service, and his patient and approachable personality is truly appreciated by staff and customers alike.
Andrii Zhehestovskyi, volunteer, Libraries & Information Services Dundee said: "I am very proud to be chosen as the Volunteer of the Year! Volunteering has helped me to find my place, while helping others. Thank you to the library staff, customers and other volunteers for all their support and good wishes."
Anna Fowlie, chief executive of SCVO, said: "What a fabulous event to celebrate the achievements of organisations and people across the voluntary sector in Scotland. Our finalists and winners are all shining examples of the great things happening thanks to the commitment of people working and volunteering in charities, community groups and social enterprises, all championing good causes, providing vital support and making our communities better places to live. Every community, and every part of our society, benefits from the work that SCVO is lucky to see on a daily basis. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Scottish Charity Awards this year, including our sponsors, the Sheraton Hotel for hosting us and of course to Sally Magnusson who was lovely as ever. Congratulations to all the finalists - I'm already looking forward to what the next year brings!"