Nicola Sturgeon MSP thanks leading social care organisation for two decades of supporting adults

Scotland’s First Minister has commended the important work of Turning Point Scotland on the 20th anniversary.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP joined a large crowd of people at the organisation’s Head Office in Govan, Glasgow including those being supported by the organisation, staff and invited guests.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I’m very pleased to be able to join staff, board members, volunteers and service users at Turning Point Scotland to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

“Social care support is an investment in Scotland. That’s why we are engaging with charities, people who use services and all parts of the sector to develop a national programme to support local reform and improve outcomes for people and their communities.

“Turning Point Scotland play an invaluable role helping some of those in society who find they need support at any stage in their life, be it with housing, drug and alcohol dependency or a range of other factors. They do tremendous work and I offer them my warmest congratulations as they celebrate this milestone.”

Turning Point Scotland has a diverse portfolio of support services including for drug & alcohol use, learning disability, mental health, homelessness, involvement in the justice system, autism, early onset dementia and Huntington’s disease.

The social care service provider and developer reaches across large parts of Scotland with 36 frontline services operating across 22 local authorities from 180 different locations, mostly in the main cities and towns but stretching into more rural locations like Aberdeenshire and Dumfries & Galloway.

Following the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, an independent organisation was set up from UK charity Turning Point’s services north of the border, to be known as Turning Point Scotland.

The First Minister listened as Chief Executive Neil Richardson outlined how the organisation has developed and some of the success stories in innovative practice in social care, including opening the very first Housing First service in Glasgow in 2010, supporting people with learning disabilities in their own homes and communities, following the closure of large hospitals like Lennox Castle, and also the pioneering 218 service, to address the underlying reasons why women end up in the justice system.

She heard from Craig MacKenzie who has experience of being supported by the organisation and how he had progressed into TPS Connects – a group that gives people that have received support from the organisation a chance to be part of a community and be part of decision-making within Turning Point Scotland – before he progressed into working for one of Turning Point Scotland’s services in Glasgow.

The First Minister joined Neil Richardson to unveil a plaque to mark the occasion then she met, posed for photos and spoke to staff and people that had been supported by the organisation, including a trip to the new outdoor seating area and garden, that has been created by TPS Connects members.

While it was a celebratory occasion Turning Point Scotland Chief Executive Neil Richardson called for a bigger role for the third sector in delivering public services and tackling some of the major challenges Scotland faces.

With a decorated career in policing behind him, Mr Richardson said:

“As a relative new comer to this sector I would offer the observation that for whatever reason, as a third sector organisation our voice is often stifled, our influence is limited by virtue of our position in established hierarchies and we operate within a holistic system which very often leaves us subservient to others less able or experienced to drive effective and sustainable solutions to the pressing challenges within Scotland’s health and social care sector. 

I do recognise that there is review work underway aiming to make longer term change within Adult Social Care but these blockages need to be alleviated now.

 So, let me take this opportunity to lay down a polite but earnest challenge to yourself and your government First Minister – let us do more, help us break through the constraints of our existing commissioning environment to bring our experience to bear, draw on our creativity and agility to drive and test new approaches and ways of working that may just offer some relief to an over-pressurised sector.

If we can do these this, I am confident that over the next 20 years Turning Point Scotland will continue to prosper and be the champion of world leading Social Care services.”