Scotland’s social services have been honoured for their outstanding commitment to improving the lives of the people they support at the Scottish Social Services Awards.

The awards are designed to acknowledge innovation, joined up thinking and recognise people and organisations which help vulnerable people. They are distinguished by the unique categories which encourage nominations from the sector including those who strive to make change happen and the bright sparks of the future.

This year a new special policy focus award was introduced to recognise excellence in Mental Health services. The Scottish Government is committed to improving Mental Health and has introduced a ten year strategy to improve access to services, backed by an additional £150 million over five years.

Now 11 individuals, teams or organisations have been announced as this year’s winners, having triumphed over more than 150 nationwide entries from across the third sector, independent organisations, local authorities and the NHS.

Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, said:

“The calibre of entries this year from across Scotland was outstanding and it’s been wonderful to see the vital and life changing work being carried out by so many impressive people and initiatives. All the finalists and social service workers should be applauded for their contribution.

“The special award to recognise those who support people with mental health is extremely important as this touches many lives in Scotland. From a young person struggling in school, or a colleague absent from work, to an elderly relative living with dementia – we have all seen, and often personally experienced, the impact of mental health problems.”

The awards were held at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh on June 5. They were hosted by the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, and guest compere, Jo McFarlane, a poet and author motivated by social justice and an ambassador for the Scottish Association of Social Work.

The 2019 categories and winners include:

Living the Codes: Alan Ross and James Donnelly, Tenancy Support Service, Loretto Housing

Bright Spark: Charlie Halliday, Action for Children’s New Horizons Housing Support Service

An Enlightened Approach: Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Shared Lives Scheme

Silo Buster: Humanitarian Protection Team, Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside, Police Scotland, Scottish Refugee Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Department of Work and Pensions, Third Sector Interface

A Different Approach: Ensemble, Loretto Care and also Time for Change, Shelter Scotland (joint winners)

Making Research and Evidence Real: David Walker Gardens, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership

Leading for Impact: Erin Stevenson, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland

The Untold Story: Viv Clelland, Vibrant Communities, East Ayrshire Council

Making Change Happen: Recruitment Partnership Team, Crossreach

Excellence in Mental Health Services: North Ayrshire Involved! Group

Full details and films of the winning entries can be found here.