The journey so far: The Weston Charity Awards

Georges Lebreton
Support Manager, Pilotlight

It’s nearly time! On Wednesday 14th June, we’ll be celebrating a cohort of winners of the Weston Charity Awards for the fourth consecutive year.

This year we’ll be in Birmingham as the 17 charities from across the North and the Midlands that will be receiving funding and strategic support are brought together. Their journey is just about to begin – but how did we get here? It's been many months in the making…

September to December: The task begins

Last year’s cohort was just getting into their Pilotlight projects with their teams of mentors when we began looking ahead to this year’s winners. We at Pilotlight were in conversation with the Garfield Weston Foundation, thinking about what has been brilliant about the Awards and how we can make this year even better. 

In December, applications opened. We were looking for charities who are ready to engage in an in-depth process of self-exploration, mentoring and strategising; organisations with passion in equal measure with stability, and with the capability to take on board guidance from some brilliant brains.

January to March: Difficult decisions and arduous journeys

This next bit was as fun as it was tiring! Our selection committee waded through all the applications from an incredibly diverse range of charities. We saw so many incredible groups of people doing impressive work – we wanted to work with them all! However, we had to whittle them down before getting on our travels.

After much debate, we had a group of charities that we wanted to learn more about. It was then that our dedicated staff team traversed from Hereford to Hull and Corby to Carlisle, meeting staff and trustees from our longlist. Every meeting was illuminating, but there could only be so many Weston winners.

April and May: Selecting the winners

Next, we got together back in our London office to (somehow!) get our final shortlist. At this stage, we wanted organisations that not only met the basic criteria, not only had a real opportunity to develop but also had people involved that we felt would benefit from working with our Pilotlighters and our Project Managers. Every charity we presented to the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation was one we would have been happy to work with. 

Finally, there they were: the winners of this year’s Weston Charity Awards. All that was left to do was to let the shortlisted charities know the decision. It was fantastic to hear how excited the winners were to have made it and to be part of this programme.

June: The launch

And that brings us to now! Eight months to get to 17 charities who will work with 68 Pilotlighters for 10–12 months. It’s been a long journey, but I know it will be worth it when we see the impact the Awards have on these deserving organisations.

Watch this space as we build up to the winners’ announcement next week and share with you some of their journeys through the Pilotlight Programme!


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