An Edinburgh based social enterprise whose mission it is to use DJing to change the lives of people affected by homelessness has been named the 2021 National Lottery Scotland Project of the Year.

Turn The Tables beat off stiff competition from more than 1500 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards, which celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

The project has emerged as the Scotland winner following the public vote which was held earlier this year.

Turn The Tables was started in 2018 by Robbie Tolson, an Edinburgh-based professional DJ, when he volunteered at a homelessness charity. He set up DJ workshops for people living in hostels and temporary accommodation with the vision to share his passion for DJing and live performance. The project has grown organically over the years with input from many of the participants influencing its development alongside the support of Scotland’s electronic music scene.

A National Lottery grant received through Creative Scotland during the pandemic was a lifeline for the organisation and has enabled them to further expand their work in Edinburgh and Glasgow with The Homelessness DJ project. Participants are introduced to DJing through a series of skills and personal development courses, with the programme culminating in a live stream performance. Some recent graduates of the project have done so well they have been offered positions as Turn The Tables resident DJs and have been booked to perform live under the Turn The Tables banner at major events including the Riverside Music Festival in Glasgow.

Delighted to be voted by the public as The National Lottery Scotland Project of the Year, Robbie Tolson, Director and Founder of Turn The Tables, says: “This has been a particularly tough two years for Turn The Tables, live music and especially DJing was wiped out for so long, drying up our income stream. The funding from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland to run our first project kept our vital support work going.

“To win this award is pretty mind blowing for our first project and we couldn’t be more over the moon. We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for us and also to everyone who plays the National Lottery as their support has been amazing.”

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