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April 7, 2022

Breaking new ground in Scottish Parliament

This year the Centre for Homelessness Impact partnered with Sense About Science to take part in the inaugural Evidence Week at the Scottish Parliament that took place between March 21-25. Our Public Affairs Lead, Rhuaraidh Fleming, led our work in Edinburgh for us on this important job, helping to build new, and strengthen our existing, relationships in the public sector in Scotland.

Taking part in the inaugural Evidence Week at the Scottish Parliament broke new ground for us at the Centre.

Following the success of our participation in Evidence Week at Westminster last October, our participation at Holyrood was an exciting opportunity to further engage with MSPs, Parliamentary staff and policy makers to make our work more widely known within those circles. 

Evidence Week at the Scottish Parliament was a very important event for the Centre to be part of. Due to Covid restrictions at the time the event was being organised, it was designed as an all online event but as things eased as the event approached, some in person activities were possible. 

Evidence Week was an opportunity to build new relationships especially in the context of a large number of MSPs having been elected for the first time in 2021 who may not yet be aware of our work. We managed to craft new relationships with a number of MSPs who have personal, policy and constituency interests in homelessness and the people affected by homelessness including Paul McLennan and Graham Simpson.

However the week was also important to further embed some of our existing relationships, meeting with key partners who have been part of some of our previous projects. Members such as Elena Whitham, who has been engaged with the work of the Centre from the beginning through our work in East Ayrshire Council and as an ambassador to our End It With Evidence campaign, and Emma Roddick who participated in our panel discussion on ​​Hidden Homelessness in post-industrial communities at our 2021 summer Impact Forum, which you can watch below.

Of course our work in Scotland goes far beyond the work done during this one week and goes far beyond the Scottish Parliament. Our work with the Scottish Government is vitally important and we continue to meet with colleagues there to continue our engagement and work with them, as we do with colleagues in local authorities across the country. 

But it’s what comes from this engagement that matters because it is no good having relationships if nothing is done. Much like it is no good having data and evidence if it is not used. 

So we will continue to work with elected members across Scotland to advance our message and our work. We will continue to partner with Sense About Science, with the Scottish Parliament Information Centre and with other organisations in Scotland to further develop, enhance and publicise the evidence base required to make the best choices and to help ensure the implementation of what works to end homelessness. And we will continue to ensure policy makers at a local level have access to the best data possible to enable them to make people-centred decisions. 

The Scottish government has committed to ending homelessness in Scotland by 2030. It has been defined as a “national priority”. This matches the Centre’s ten-year mission and we remain committed to working and engaging with everybody who shares our common goal. Because in seeking to end homelessness it doesn’t matter where we all come from or represent. It is where we are trying to go and what we are trying to achieve, together, that will bring an end to homelessness. 

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