Working and learning together
For the last 18 months, Simon Community Scotland has been sharing a CEO with Edinburgh’s Streetwork. It has been proving such a success that the suggestion of an official merger was very well received by staff last year (2018) and plans were put in place to action this. As of 1st April 2019, both charities became one.
Why Simon Community Scotland?
Streetwork had been open to partnering with another homeless charity for some time, however, an organisation that had the best fit with Streetwork and its values was needed. Linda Holden, Streetwork Chair, said the following:
‘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’.
Linda Holden, Chair Of Streetwork
Overall, the ambition of both organisations is to make better use of their combined resources and focus on reaching and resolving more people’s experience of homelessness and rough sleeping across Scotland’s two main cities and beyond. Both organisations will now become a stronger influence on homelessness in Scotland as no other organisation in this country reaches more people experiencing it.
Commenting on the future for both charities, Lorraine McGrath, CEO of Simon Community Scotland, 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’.
Lorraine McGrath, CEO of Simon Community Scotland
Many questions have arisen as a result of the merger so we created a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) to answer your queries:
- How will this affect the services you offer? In a very positive way, by bringing together over 80 years of experience, profile and expertise to fuel greater impact and new solutions for those affected by homelessness in Scotland. Both Streetwork and Simon Community Scotland combined help over 5000 people per year! The management of both charities agrees there is no room for agendas, internal politics or egos in this process. We have worked hard to find outcomes which work for the service users and allow us to become one organisation without compromising on that.
- Have staff lost jobs? No. No staff lost their jobs in the process and we had their full support throughout. Our staff are the most important part of delivering and maintaining the excellent standards expected of both organisations.
- Will Streetwork still be named ‘Streetwork’? Yes, Streetwork will retain its name in Edinburgh and the Lothians, however, both charities have brought their values and resources under the single Simon Community Scotland banner (SCS is the ‘parent’ company).
- Will Simon Community Scotland still be named ‘Simon Community Scotland’? Yes, Simon Community Scotland will retain its name and identity. The merging of both companies will now allow Simon Community Scotland to extend its operations and begin combatting the causes and effects of homelessness throughout Scotland, not just Glasgow.
More About Both Organisations…
Founded in 1991, Streetwork is a homeless charity that enables life off the streets for people in Edinburgh.
Streetwork’s street team is regularly joined by the likes of GPs and vets, to provide practical assistance to people sleeping rough (and any pets they might have). Every day the team reach out, respond and help people resolve their homelessness so that they can recover and thrive.
Streetwork operates out of two premises in central Edinburgh: One on South Bridge and one on Holyrood Road (a support and amenities hub for people who are homeless). From the hub, the following services are provided: Individualised support, health services, digital skills training, employability services, washing facilities, telephones, internet access, correspondence address, etc.
For more information on Streetwork, please visit: http://www.streetwork.org.uk.
Simon Community Scotland
Simon Community Scotland has been working alongside people who experience homelessness in Scotland since 1966. We deliver over 250,000 hours of support every year and engage with up to 5,000 people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness. We deliver the two biggest street outreach teams in Scotland and support more people through our accommodation, including emergency accommodation, and outreach support across Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire than any other organisation.
We were highly committed to ensuring the input of our staff and service users during this consultation and our response is centred around the views expressed by more than 60 people across our services.