Media release: Joint chief executive role expected to improve services for rough sleepers in Edinburgh and Glasgow

Lorraine Mcgrath

13 JUNE 2017

IMPROVED services for people sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow are expected, following a deal struck between two charities specialising in ‘outreach work’.

The chief executive of Glasgow-based charity, Simon Community Scotland, was yesterday [Monday] named also chief executive of Edinburgh-based counterpart, Streetwork.
The dual role now being performed by Lorraine McGrath will see both organisations build on an already existing relationship of sharing expertise in their joint pursuit of providing practical support to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Streetwork has been providing face-to-face support to rough sleepers in the capital for 25 years, while Simon Community Scotland has been doing likewise in Glasgow for just over 50. The bigger of the two, in terms of staff numbers, Simon Community Scotland also provides emergency accommodation services, including in North Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire.
The opportunity for McGrath to take on the twin roles followed a vacancy arising at Streetwork.
Said Streetwork chair, Linda Holden: “I am delighted that a chief executive of the calibre of Lorraine McGrath has been appointed as our chief executive also.
“To have access to the skills, talents and resources of Simon Community Scotland – with whom we share so many values – will be vital as we try to to support people with complex needs who are sleeping rough on our streets.
“We are specialists in working directly with people sleeping rough on our streets. This collaboration is a really significant step forward for us as we work towards trying to solve this so visible and heart-wrenching situation we all see on the streets of our cities.”
Said Lorraine McGrath: “I’ve known and informally worked with Streetwork for over ten years. I feel honoured and privileged to be linking the leadership of the two major homelessness street outreach organisations in Scotland, I believe it offers great opportunity for shared learning.
“This ambitious agreement between our organisations is wholly focused on delivering improvements for people who find themselves on the streets or in crisis in our two cities where we have the greatest homelessness need.
“Streetwork has a strong legacy of delivery in Edinburgh and a highly-skilled and expert team and I am delighted to be joining that team.
“This partnership will bring huge benefits to both organisations as we develop new ways of working, learning from each other about what works best and in developing new approaches together.”
Both McGrath and Holden yesterday [Monday] presented the new arrangement to key officials at The City of Edinburgh Council, which is the principal funder of Streetwork.
Notes to editors:
Both Lorraine McGrath and Linda Holden are available for interview. Please contact Lyndsey Wilson, senior administrator, Simon Community Scotland, on 0141 418 6982, to arrange.

About Simon Community Scotland
Founded in 1966, Simon Community Scotland is a charity that works to combat the causes and effects of homelessness. Its vision is that everyone should have a safe place to live and access to the support they need.

It operates a ‘street team’ from premises near Glasgow’s High Street and also in North Lanarkshire, plus emergency accommodation in 12 locations, including in North Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire.
Its ‘street team’ sees around 150 people on the streets of Glasgow every month, with up to 40 new cases each month.
It is estimated that people who are long-term rough sleeping have a life expectancy of 47 (age 43 specifically for women). Rough sleepers are 13 times more likely than the general public to experience violence, 47 times more likely to be the victim of theft and three times more likely to have been a victim of a road traffic accident. One in ten rough sleepers are estimated to have been a victim of sexual violence within the previous 12 months.
Visit, @SimonCommScot
Telephone: 0141 418 6980. Its street team can be contacted on freephone: 0800 027 7466.

About Streetwork
Edinburgh-based charity, Streetwork, operates out of two premises in Edinburgh, on South Bridge (offices) and on Holyrood Road (a support and amenities hub for people who are homeless).

Among the facilities on Holyrood Road: individualised support, health services, digital skills training, employability services, washing facilities, telephones, internet access and correspondence address, etc.
Founded in 1991, Streetwork’s street outreach 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).
Visit, @street_work
Telephone: 0131 344 0825. Its street team can be contacted on freephone: 0808 178 2323.


New free legal advice service for homeless youth in Edinburgh

Streetwork and CLAN Child Law are delighted to be working together to bring flexible access to legal support for young people in Edinburgh who are experiencing legal issues relating to their housing or family situation. To date we have been engaging young people in the design and roll out of the project and we are developing training for youth sector practitioners who are working with young people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

Further information about the project is provided below and can be found on our website
Street Legal is an innovative new partnership project between Clan Childlaw and Streetwork.
Combining the expertise of both organisations, the project provides free legal advice and support to young people (up to the age of 26) who are either experiencing, or at risk of homelessness in Edinburgh.
Both organisations had identified that there was a gap in legal services accessible to young people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness, and were delighted to be awarded funding by the Big Lottery for this 3 year project.
The project will also provide specialist training, support and guidance to Streetyouth practitioners on the legal rights of young people within the housing system, to assist in empowering and advocating for young people they work with.
If you would like to refer someone to Street Legal for help, or talk to us about a housing or family issue to see what legal help may be available please get in touch.
For more information about the project, or if you have any questions, please contact the project coordinator Rachel Farrier on 07484 529627 or
Street Legal logos

Streetwork appoints new Chairperson

Linda Holden - Steetwork ChairpersonStreetwork are delighted to welcome Linda Holden as the new Chair of our Board of Trustees.

With a focus on a life beyond the street for those facing multiple exclusion, Linda’s appointment comes at an exciting time as we look to the future with a sustained focus on our impact and influence for those facing another winter of homelessness.

Linda joins Streetwork as a leader in her field, with significant experience of leadership, governance and importantly people, making her the ideal appointment for Streetwork who recognise the importance of transformational relationships.
Linda shared her first impressions of Streetwork and our focus on those so often left out in the cold;

I am delighted to be appointed to lead the Board of Streetwork. Without exception I have been impressed by the passion and dedication which prevails amongst the staff team and Board of Trustees and the commitment that is shown to helping people when they need it most. Streetwork reach the most vulnerable and excluded people in our society and I looking forward to leading our work in a way that enables us to reach more people who are in need of our support

Linda was appointed to the Board of Trustee’s in November 2016

Hearts and Hibs Christmas Lunch

Streetwork service users and staff were delighted to be joined by footballing stars from Hearts and Hibs at our annual Christmas lunch yesterday.

Hearts players Jamie Walker and Soufian el Hassnaoui were put through their paces helping to dish up a three course lunch with all the trimmings to 60 guests, which was generously provided again this year by the Sheraton Grand Hotel.
Hibs players Mark Oxley and Martin Boyle also came along to meet service users and hand out match tickets, which the club generously donated for Saturday’s game.


The lunch also kicked-off the second half of Streetwork’s 2015 Winter Crisis Appeal, which aims to raise £10,000 to provide practical help for those who find themselves excluded, destitute and homeless this winter.
Our staff are also pitching in with finance manager and Jambo Gordon Watson, facing head of services and Hibee Jan Williamson, in a head-to-head festive fundraising fixture.


“We are really grateful to the clubs and players for giving their time so generously,” said Gordon.
“There is a lot of footie banter in the office all year round. So we reckoned we could channel that into a bit of fun to raise cash for the Winter Appeal. We’re calling on all Jambos and Hibbies out there to support us by helping to raise money for a great cause. It’s game on!”
Funds raised will provide essential support to people who are on the streets. Every little helps: £1 pays for a hot drink, £5 pays for a soup, a sandwich and a hot shower, £10 pays for a clean change of warm clothes, £25 pays for a winter sleeping bag and £150 helps run the Crisis Centre.
Streetwork chief executive Kenny Forsyth said: “Our dedicated staff are on the streets of Edinburgh 365 days a year reaching out to people living in the most desperate situations. Demands on services are particularly high at this time of year as the cold weather sets in.


“So we’re delighted to have such generous support from Hearts, Hibs and the Sheraton. Christmas is a time for families but for many people, the complex problems which lead to them becoming homeless stretch back to their own childhood.”
Both clubs also shared their support for the Streetwork Winter Crisis Appeal and urged fans to back the fundraising efforts.
A Hearts spokesperson said: “Heart of Midlothian Football Club is delighted to continue to back the fantastic efforts of Streetwork by attending their annual Christmas lunch.
“Christmas is a time for giving and our players are only too happy to give up their time to come along and serve Christmas dinners to those less fortunate.
“We wish Streetwork every success with their Winter Appeal and would urge our supporters to check it out and see how they can make a difference in someone’s life this Christmas.”
A spokesperson for Hibs added: “It is a privilege to support the Streetwork Winter Appeal again this year.
“The charity does a fantastic amount of work and we are happy to help where we can.
“Our supporters have shown their kind and generous nature on a number of occasions and I’m sure they will get behind the Winter Appeal this year.”


Hearts fans can donate to the Winter Appeal through Gordon’s Just Giving page and share their support on twitter using the hashtag #StreetworkHearts
Hibs fans can back Jan’s efforts and share on twitter by using the hashtag #StreetworkHibs