We are delighted that The Scottish Guardianship Service, run by Aberlour, Scotland?s children?s charity, on behalf of the Scottish Refugee Council has won the highly prestigious Partnership Award at the Scottish Charity Awards. The award, organised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, is voted on by the public.

The award comes after the Guardianship Service was debated in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday. MSPs urged the Scottish Government to consider extending proposed legislation, as part of the Children and Young People Bill, to cover children and young people seeking asylum.

The Scottish Guardianship Service works with children and young people who arrive in Scotland unaccompanied and separated from their families.? The service supports unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children and young people. The guardians support young people, helping them to navigate through the immigration and welfare processes, feel supported and empowered throughout the asylum process, access the help they need when they need it and help them to make informed decisions about their future.

Ken Dunbar, Aberlour Chief Executive said, ?The children and young people referred to us will have travelled long distances to get to the UK. They arrive without any family or friends; they are often confused and frightened and typically will not speak English.? Frequently they arrive in a state of trauma and shock because of the experiences they have fled. It is great to see how the Scottish Guardianship Service has made such a profound impact on the lives of these young people.

We?re immensely proud of the work which Catriona MacSween and the team at the Guardianship Service undertake, and I?m pleased that this has been recognised, by the awards, especially by one voted on by the public.?

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council commented, ?We are delighted to win the SCVO Partnership Award with Aberlour Childcare Trust for the Scottish Guardianship Service.

Despite improvements, the asylum system is still not a child friendly one. It can be extremely difficult for traumatised young people, who find themselves alone and feeling their way in a strange culture, to navigate its complexities and deal with a host of professionals including lawyers, Home Office officials and social workers.

Having a Guardian by their side and on their side not only makes a vast difference to the experience of that young person in Scotland. It also means they have a far better understanding of the asylum system. That greatly increases their chances of getting a fair hearing, and as a result better immigration decisions are made.?

Click on the image above to find out more about the Scottish Guardianship Service