A Hillhouse-based charity set up following the suicide of a Hamilton teen has scooped a top national honour.

Supporting Our Community (SOC) were delighted to be named the winners in the Celebrating Communities category at this year’s Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) charity awards.

The gong highlights the voluntary organisations who are making a considerable impact on people’s lives. It shows the enthusiasm, commitment, and extraordinary lengths that voluntary groups go to in order to work with individuals, communities and organisations.

SOC was set up by a group of volunteers from Hillhouse, Burnbank and Blantyre, including coupl e Mark and Donna Rouse.

The initial plan was to open a centre to provide support to families who were struggling to access the statutory services required regarding mental health.

But, following the tragic death of Mark and Donna’s 16-year-old daughter, Darian, from suicide in December 2018, the plan was strengthened and included many more services for the community.

These services include offering programmes designed for full family engagement allowing everyone to be involved.

Before announcing the winner, Alan Sherry, chair of CLD Standards Council Scotland, emphasised that the finalists ‘have made a significant impact and difference in the communities in which they work’.

During the virtual awards ceremony, Mark, project co-ordinator, accepted the accolade on behalf of SOC and told event host Sally Magnusson: “This will help us to grow and hopefully provide lots more support to people in our local community, who live in one of the most deprived areas of Scotland.

“The support we can offer is needed and it’s going to be massive now.”

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Sally was moved by the development of the community hub and replied: “It must be good to see something positive coming out of the tragic loss of Darian. It is such a great initiative and it’s wonderful to hear how well you are doing. Congratulations.”

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Mark told the Advertiser: “We are delighted to win the Celebrating Communities award. We are only able to achieve this thanks to the people who have supported us, the dedication and hard work of all of our staff and volunteers in addition to the positive and strong partnerships we have developed.”

Darian, a pupil at Calderside Academy in Blantyre, had suffered her own mental health issues over the years and had struggled with anxiety.

Her death was a major turning point for the Rouse family who, with a group of fellow activists, set about providing the vital community-based service that also runs classes such as guitar and crochet lessons, community gardening and arts and crafts sessions for all the family.