Edinburgh and Glasgow homeless charities appoint joint chief executive

Lorraine McGrath
Lorraine McGrath

Services for people sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow are expected to be improved following a deal struck between two charities specialising in ‘outreach work’.

The chief executive of Glasgow-based charity Simon Community Scotland was yesterday 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.

Streetwork chair, Linda Holden, said: “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 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.”

Lorraine McGrath added: “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 presented the new arrangement to key officials at the City of Edinburgh Council, which is the principal funder of Streetwork.

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