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Queen’s Birthday Honours: Charity chief executive plans to share his honour with all staff at VSA

Kenneth Simpson, chief executive of VSA, has been made an MBE. Supplied by VSA.
Kenneth Simpson, chief executive of VSA, has been made an MBE. Supplied by VSA.

A Stonehaven man has been recognised for almost two decades of service to people with disabilities across the north-east.

Kenneth Simpson has been made an MBE for his services to people with disabilities across the north-east.

In 2004, he was appointed as the chief executive of Voluntary Services Aberdeen (VSA).

The charity aims to offer care, support, and vital services to vulnerable people in the community.

The 62-year-old was “surprised and delighted” when he found out he was on the Queen’s Honours list.

He also wants to share the honour with his colleagues at VSA after their hard work and dedication over Covid.

“After 40 years in either the public services or the voluntary sector it’s just nice,” he said.

“I feel it’s not just for me but for the whole of VSA and all the work they’ve all done in the last two years which has been absolutely outstanding.

“I’ve been really lucky I’ve got a great team and great staff and it’s a bit like the icing on the cake getting something like this, it’s just so lovely and quite humbling in a way.

“In the third sector, you’re not really in it for anything other than the service you can bring to the community, so it’s really lovely – and as I say I feel it’s for the whole of the VSA.”

‘I look back and think we made a huge impact’

Mr Simpson started his career in health and social work, before moving to Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

While at the guide dog charity he helped many people, including a gentleman who had not been able to leave his home in over two years after losing his sight.

Mr Simpson helped with training him so that he would be able to go to the shops by himself and pick up his kids from school.

“Going from not getting out at all, to being able to just go collect his kids from school, go to the shops, get to the pub on his own.

“I think it’s still the highlight I look back on and think we made a huge impact on his life,” he admitted.

Under Mr Simspon’s leadership at VSA they were able to amalgamate several charities to secure the future of the organisation, which is now in its 152nd year.

He said: “It does make you reflect back on your career over time and what you’ve done, the things you’ve done, the people you’ve worked with.

“As I say it’s very exciting and you do feel very humbled by all this, and delighted all at the same time.”

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