A group of 19 frontline charities from the North of England, the Midlands and Wales have been announced as winners of the 2020 Weston Charity Awards, which received a record number of entries in its seventh year.
The charities, who submitted their entries in January to the Garfield Weston Foundation and leadership charity Pilotlight, will receive a core grant of £6,500 on top of a year of tailored strategic planning support from a dedicated team of four senior business and charity leaders.
Between them the winners provide services to 62,777 people and range in size from £100,000 to nearly £2 million annual income. The people they support cope with a range of issues such as domestic abuse, caring responsibilities and the risks of working in the sex industry.
Every one of the selected charities (listed below) say their jobs have been made more difficult by the impact of Coronavirus on their beneficiaries or their ability to deliver services. 13 of the 19 Weston Charity Awards 2020 cohort have continued to provide some socially distanced face-to-face services. Five of the charities have moved services entirely online and one charity has been unable to offer services to the public. This compounds an already tough climate for small charities - more than 70% of respondents to the Weston Charity Awards' Small Charity Leaders Insight Report in late 2019 reported an increased level of uncertainty in their operating environment.
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the most vulnerable in our communities hard - frontline charities are addressing increasing demands for their services with innovation, professionalism and determination; and they are doing so despite serious threats to their finances and operating models.”
“As a Foundation we’ve needed to act swiftly to support frontline activities in the short term, but we continue to champion long-term planning for charities. The support and experience of the Weston Charity Awards puts charities in a really strong position to survive, adapt and thrive into the future.”
Since March, James Lewis, CEO of Action for Elders has overseen the introduction of online exercise and wellbeing programmes for preventative health and social connectedness support to both existing and new service users. On receiving a Weston Charity Award, he said:
“Our participants are among those most vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic: older people who have life-limiting health conditions. Our urgent and primary concern has been to transform our delivery model. Our selection by the Weston Charity Awards recognises our ultimate goal of helping those in later life by building and developing our Balanced Lives programmes, taking them to all areas of the UK, and building the long term sustainability of the organisation."
Another recipient, Mike Seaton, CEO of Carers Support South Lakes said:
“We will seize this amazing opportunity to help us achieve our goals to extend the charity’s reach and accessibility; grow our unrestricted income through the development of social enterprise initiatives; raise our profile; and improve our monitoring and evaluation so we can keep making a difference and enhance the lives and well-being of unpaid carers for many years to come.”
Catrin Evans, Manager of Plant Dewi which runs family support projects and community activities in South West Wales said:
“We are overjoyed to be given this chance to guide us through an exciting time of change. We are excited to plan our way forward, to strengthen our governance and structure and to ensure we can develop the support available to the families we support.”
Over the past two decades, Pilotlight has helped nearly 1,000 charities to strengthen leadership and become more resilient through facilitated coaching programmes with teams of business leaders bringing diverse skills and approaches.
Bruce McCombie, interim Chief Executive of Pilotlight, said:
“Weston Charity Award recipients are selected on the strength of their ambitions and their openness to external perspectives - attributes that will help them benefit most from working with our Pilotlighters."
“Success looks different for each charity we work with, be it in the Weston Charity Awards or through our other programmes. On average, our Charity Partners typically increase both their reach and income by more than a third within two years of the programme. But those figures only tell part of the story - digging down into individual charities’ experience, it’s not just about growth, we also see more focused services, increased confidence of the charity leaders and sustainable innovations benefitting communities across the UK.”
The Newest Weston Charity Award winners are:
- Action for Elders
- Carer Support South Lakes
- Eagle's Nest Project
- Grace House North East
- Groundwork West Midlands
- Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH)
- Meadow Well Connected
- Music Action International
- Plant Dewi
- Positive Action in the Community (PAC)
- Ravenscliffe Community Association
- Rochdale Connections Trust
- Shropshire RCC
- The Brick (Queen's Hall Action on Poverty)
- The Enthusiasm Trust
- The Venus Charity
- Worcester Community Trust