Children playing in a sandbox

Applications will be flooding in soon this year’s Weston Charity Awards. In previous blogs we’ve discussed the reasons why you may want to apply, and how to make your application stand out. But what happens if you win? Here are a few of our success stories from previous winners to show you what you can expect.

Clear vision, visible impact

In the very first round of the Awards in 2015, Horden Youth & Community Centre in the coalfields in County Durham was one of the winners. HYCC was an important part of its community and had been a place for residents not only to enjoy leisure activities but also to access job clubs, support and training. However, the financial crisis had hit the North East particularly badly and with local money dwindling, and the end of a large grant, HYCC were in need of an injection of outside support to keep them running.

Winning the Award meant they had access to the expert mentoring and advice from Pilotlight that they needed to get their charity back on track. They also received money that allowed them to make the trip down to London every month for their Pilotlight meetings without worrying about damaging the charity. Director Steve Clark and his Pilotlighters worked on sharpening up the organisation’s mission, running its board in a more effective way and creating a clear plan to both guide operations and share with stakeholders.

HYCC ended up with a fresh plan, a new and sustainable youth programme, a slicker board and more confidence in bringing people and money into the charity. The impact wasn’t lost on Tony Robinson, Chair of Trustees: “You can see the difference as soon as you walk in the building.”

Challenging you to be a more confident leader

Working in Greater Manchester with young people and their mental health and emotional wellbeing, 42nd Street’s CEO Simone Spray applied for an Award in 2016 looking for support so the charity could keep up with the rapidly changing environment across mental health, the charity sector and the political sphere.

Early on, the team of Pilotlighters travelled to Manchester together to take a look at the charity and its home – a day Simone described as “a real eye-opener” as not only did the volunteers become inspired by the organisation, but she saw 42nd Street in a whole new light through the probing questions the Pilotlighters asked. Building on the foundation of understanding this gave, the Pilotlight team began to challenge her thinking and supported her in developing the charity.

Not only did Simone come out with a new business plan, new mission and a narrative around the charity, but she described it as “invaluable for me as a leader”. She was left feeling more confident and had a deeper understanding of her own charity and team.

Uniting your organisation

When Young Asian Voices started the Pilotlight 360 programme in 2021, the charity wanted the process to be inclusive, though Executive Manager Ram didn’t know what this would look like. But when he started, he realised it could involve the entire organisation - not just the higher management and the board, but also the staff, stakeholders and funders. It gave the charity an opportunity to understand everyone’s point of view, and this was strengthened by their autonomy to drive the process. 

Mahnur Roushan, Operations & Services Coordinator commented: "It was not just led by Pilotlight, there was so much ownership given to us as an organisation as well, and I think that was really, really helpful."

It could be you!

We’re working with 19 charities who won the Award this year right now to find way we can help them be more effective. If you want your charity to be a winner and follow in the footsteps of HYCC, 42nd Street and Young Asian Voices apply!

Written by
Profile picture for user Kate Steadman
Kate Steadman
Operations Executive - Pilotlight