Organisers of the Scottish Diversity Awards have crowned Edinburgh Pride their ‘LGBT Event of the Year’ at a ceremony in Glasgow last night (Monday).

But the awards have been accused of profiteering from the cash-strapped voluntary sector, with some charity bosses urging the sector “to be cautious about taking part in award ceremonies … created with the sole purpose of making money.”

The awards have been developed by a company who hit the headlines in recent weeks when they admitted the ceremony is set up to generate profit for the business. Joe Kahn, a spokesman for the business told TFN, “We are here to make money, let me make that absolutely clear. We are a private company. We identify new markets that we can target, we have the event to pay for, we have to make sure that everything is being done properly. That’s out in the open, it’s not something we hide behind. We run projects to make money.”

Pride Edinburgh Chair, Brett Herriot, responded with the following statement:

“[I] attended the Scottish Diversity Awards on a complimentary guest ticket, also paying for my own travel. Creative Oceanic has not and will not receive any monies or funds from Pride Edinburgh in relation to the award ceremony or the award itself. We continue to be thankful for the award given to us for LGBT Group [sic] of the Year.”

When asked about the lack of transparency on selection and judging, Brett continued, “I don’t believe the company behind the awards were fully transparent, judging the credibility of the awards was difficult as this is the debut year, however the company have a wide resume of involvement with other awards around the UK and I took that at the value it was for. I had to call the organisers myself to find out exactly what the Awards were about and how they were to be judged and I was informed it was to celebrate diversity from across the third sector. The Awards were to be judged by a selected panel drawn from across the third sector. I was never informed who the judges were and what criteria they were using.”

The company organise several award ceremonies across the UK and, according to their website, ‘believe in the art of storytelling’. They also describe receiving ‘thousands of nominations’ across an exhaustive 28 award categories, including Charity of the Year, Body of the Year, Organisation of the Year and Third Sector CEO of the Year.

Scottish LGBT organisations such as LGBT Youth Scotland, Pride Glasgow, Stonewall Scotland and Equality Network were nominated, but most did not attend the event.

Monday night’s ceremony was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow and, although nominees were offered one free ticket, subsequent tickets were reportedly priced at £75 each. Organisers announced The Well Foundation to be the main beneficiary and a spokesperson told us £480 was raised on the night for the charity, which will go to Glasgow Hospital for Children.

When asked about the allegations of profiteering by the organisers, Brett added, “We do not have a comment to make on allegations of profiteering as Creative Oceanic did not receive any funds or money from Pride Edinburgh – the ticket used by the Chair was a complimentary guest ticket. Had we been asked to pay for the ticket we would not have been in attendance, as a charity that produces its own free event, we will not spend funds on award ceremonies.”

The Scottish Diversity Awards were the top Twitter trend in Glasgow on Monday evening, although perhaps not for the reason organisers would have liked – a number of people commented on an apparent spelling mistake on each award, with the business named ‘Creative Ocenic’.

Our investigations have uncovered a number of linked businesses to the organisers, which have either gone bankrupt or been dissolved, according to public records held at Companies House, including:

Creative Oceanic Scotland Limited (SC393644)

Creative Oceanic Ltd. (SC307052)

Oceanic Media Consulting Ltd. (SC295438)

Oceanic Retail Limited (SC358546)

Oceanic Consulting Scotland Ltd (SC251300)

Oceanic Group Ltd. (SC307051)

We approached Creative Oceanic for comment on the issues raised in this article but have not received a response.

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