Below are some of the frequently asked questions.

About the Weston Charity Awards

What is covered by the fields of Community, Welfare and Youth?

There is a wide range of charitable activity covered in these categories, and your charity may work across more than one category. Examples include support for the homeless, disabled, elderly and vulnerable groups, activities for young people and work benefitting communities whether providing mobile and outreach services or through community centres. We welcome applications from charities making a difference in any or all of these areas.

Why are the awards for Community, Welfare and Youth specifically?

Charities working in the areas of Community, Welfare and Youth have been especially hard hit by the economic situation so we wanted to work with those that would really benefit from an Award. As well as funding and access to free expert advice and networks over a year, winners will also benefit from a raised profile. The Awards are intended to deliver long-term benefit and enable charities to become stronger, more effective and fit for the future.

What is the Garfield Weston Foundation?

Established over 60 years ago in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded, grant-making charity which supports causes across the UK and, in the most recent financial year, gave over £98million. Since it was established, it has exceeded donations of more than £1.2billion, of which well over half has been given in the past ten years.

One of the most respected charitable institutions in the UK, the Weston Family Trustees are descendants of the founder and they take a highly active and hands-on approach. The Foundation’s funding comes from an endowment of shares in the family business which includes Twinings, Primark, Kingsmill (all part of Associated British Foods Plc) and Fortnum & Mason, amongst others – a successful model that still endures today; as the businesses have grown, so too have the charitable donations.

Known for its transparency, flexibility and straightforward approach, the Foundation supports a broad range of charities from small community organisations to large national institutions. Around 2,000 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation’s grants.

The Awards are open to both charities who have already established a relationship with the Foundation, including current grant holders and charities we do not know yet.

For more information about the Foundation and its grant-making, please go to

Please note that if you are eligible to apply for an Award you can also apply separately for a grant – either or both can be considered independently.

What is Pilotlight?

Pilotlight is an established UK charity with a reputation for excellence through its work offering charities and social enterprises access to the strategic business support they need to become more efficient, effective and sustainable. This is achieved by harnessing the talents of senior business leaders – called Pilotlighters. These business mentors with diverse experiences in the business sector are put together by Pilotlight in teams of four, and they coach and mentor charities through a carefully facilitated process to help the charities think and plan strategically.


What areas in the UK do you support?

Please follow this link to view a full list of the areas we are considering applicants from this year.

What if we are a national charity with an independent centre in one of the eligible areas of the UK?

We are very happy to receive applications from charities with affiliates or an independent franchise in one of our eligible areas. As long as your charity has an independent registration for the work it does in the region and the majority of this activity takes place in Wales, the North or Midlands of England then we’d be very pleased for you to apply.

What if our work also takes place outside of the eligible areas?

You are welcome to apply, provided at least half your beneficiaries and activity is within one of our eligible areas.

What if our charity has already worked with Pilotlight?

We would still be delighted to hear from you, as long as you are not working with Pilotlight at the moment and your relationship with them was at least a year ago then you are welcome to apply.

What if we currently have a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation?

Then please apply! The Awards are entirely independent of grant decisions made by the Foundation and we are happy to hear from any Community, Welfare and Youth charities in one of our eligible areas, whether or not there is a past or current relationship with us.

What if the Garfield Weston Foundation turned us down for a grant recently?

Then do apply for an Award! The Awards are separate from the Foundation’s grant making and it may be that the Foundation couldn’t support the project you applied for, but you could still benefit from help with your planning and strategy, building your profile and being able to help more people – not to mention that winners are given additional unrestricted funds and expenses are covered too!


How will applicants be selected?

The application form is simple and easy to fill out.  First we will check that your charity fulfills the eligibility criteria and then we will look to understand how you make a difference, what is made better through your work, and how you think an Award could benefit your charity.  We are looking for a combination of enthusiasm to receive an award and to work with Pilotlight along with existing great work that helps people in need – we don’t expect perfection!  We do not anticipate that these will be easy decisions to make but we hope that you will be excited by the opportunity.

Who decides on the winners?

Award Winners will be chosen by the Garfield Weston Foundation Board of Trustees following a shortlisting process delivered by Pilotlight.

What do the winners get?

Winning charities get a whole package of support over a year to help them be successful – this includes free access to experts who can advise your charity on the things you need most, whether that’s with planning, finances, strategy development, fundraising, expansion or something else. You will receive an unrestricted cash contribution of £6,500 to help you with the resources to make the most of the year with Pilotlight (This includes travel and expenses to meetings). “Connect” events held throughout the year allow winning charities to network with other charity leaders.

What if we don’t win?

One of the aims of the Awards is to encourage charities to consider a broad range of income sources. Even if you don’t win an Award this time we hope you will take the time to look at the Garfield Weston Foundation website – – as well as other local and national grant makers. Ensuring your charity isn’t too dependent on one source of income is important so you can keep making a difference, even if one source of funding declines or stops.

Will we get feedback if we don’t win?

Yes – at each stage of the process you will be informed if your charity has reached the next stage. If your charity has not progressed then we will endeavour, where possible, to indicate if there were any specific reasons why you application could not be taken forward – it is our hope that all those who apply get something out of the process, even if it is awareness of additional funding sources that may be available to your charity.

What will we be expected to do if we win an Award?

The winners will work with Pilotlight over the course of a year and you will have access to senior business leaders at a monthly meeting. You will be featured in a short film we are making and will also be included in press articles to help raise the profile of your charity – this means you will need to be available to provide quotes and/or case studies about your work. During the year of the award process you will need to engage closely with Pilotlight and ensure that your Trustees are aware of the Award – they can even be involved in the Pilotlight meetings if you wish. We ask that the representatives of your charity are the most senior individuals (eg the Chief Executive or equivalent and/or the heads of important roles such as operations, finance or fundraising).

How much of my time will being a winner take?

Pilotlight 360 typically takes up to a day a month of the Chief Executive’s time, though the more you put in, the more you get of it. Working with Pilotlight gives you valuable space, time and guidance to think about your organisation and what it may need to flourish in these challenging times.  Charities working with Pilotlight find the advice and support they receive from senior industry leaders who are ‘on their side’ to be hugely valuable. So, you can consider one day a month as an excellent investment in helping you and your charity become fit for the future.

We strongly encourage your charity’s Chair to attend some of the project meetings. Board engagement is a crucial in determining the success of the programme.

My charity has never applied for any type of award before. Should we?

Then the best time to start is now! We understand it needs a leap of faith and some confidence to apply for an Award, but if you think your charity makes a difference then tell us about it and you never know what might happen!

How will the programme be delivered?

Pilotlight usually carries out face-to face shortlist meetings on a charity’s premises and holds project meetings at the Pilotlight headquarters in London. However, due to Covid-19 amendments to the process and the delivery method of the programme have had to be made. Shortlist meetings carried out between February – April 2022 will be held virtually with the possibility of project meetings being held virtually too. This is dependent on how the Covid-19 situation progresses. You will be informed in advance closer to the time about the situation regarding project delivery. Please feel free to mention any concerns or Covid-19 related constraints to the Pilotlight team.