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

lorraine mcgrath

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.


MEDIA RELEASE issued by Simon Community Scotland / Streetwork. You too can share your stories (aka press or media releases), on this site. Email here for more information.

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Simon Community Scotland / Streetwork contact details…

Contact: Lorraine McGrath