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Applications are now closed for the Weston Charity Awards 2024

Who is eligible to apply for an award?

To be eligible to apply, your charity must have:

  • A registered charity number
  • At least one paid full-time member of staff in a leadership position
  • Delivered a service for at least two years
  • Income of less than £5 million per year
  • Provide direct services to beneficiaries or take practical action on the environment 
  • A degree of financial stability that enables full engagement in the programme 
  • A majority of activity or beneficiaries based in the North or Midlands of England or Wales. To check that your area is eligible to apply to the Awards, take a look at our full location list here.
  • A willingness to meet in person for four out of ten meetings (three in London and one at your charity's location).

Your charity must also be working to alleviate disadvantage in one or more of the following fields:

  • Community: This includes volunteering work, practical projects to improve an area, running community centres and providing a range of services for their local community, especially for those who may be vulnerable or in need.
  • Environment: This includes practical action around sustainable land use and fishing, renewable energy, recycling schemes, biodiversity, species preservation, marine life, education, climate change science and conservation.
  • Welfare: This includes helping adults experiencing exclusion, social or economic hardship; people experiencing homelessness; people who are at risk of offending or reoffending; and charities supporting older people or people with disabilities.
  • Youth: This includes providing services to children and young people up to the age of 25, such as offering advice and guidance, work experience, training and coaching. Schools are not eligible to apply to the Awards.

Charities that have applied previously can apply again, but only if there has been significant changes in their circumstances. Winners will be selected based on their willingness to benefit from Pilotlight 360. The leader of the charity applying must be willing to travel to central London for a minimum of four out of ten meetings.

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What kinds of charities benefit most from the awards?

The Awards work best for charities that:

  • Are ambitious for their future
  • Aim to pursue best-practice in their field
  • Are open to change and to challenge existing ways of working
  • Have an engaged board that is bought into Pilotlight 360; a board member is expected to attend at least one in three meetings.
  • Are able to commit sufficient time to the meetings

Designed to look at your organisation strategically and help build leadership capacity, Pilotlight 360 is tailored to be responsive to your charity’s needs. Outputs can include creating a robust future-proofing strategy, a refreshed governance structure, revised vision and mission statements or an action plan for key operational improvements.

If your organisation would benefit from the support of the Weston Charity Awards but doesn’t quite meet the criteria, please take a look at other ways Pilotlight may be able to support your charity.

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Case Studies

Ensuring sustainability for Hijinx

20 June 2024

Hijinx is a theatre company pioneering, producing and promoting opportunities for actors with learning disabilities and/or autism productions across Wales.

Finding the balance for Nepacs

11 January 2024

Amanda Lacey, CEO of Nepacs reflects on the impact winning the Weston Charity Awards and Pilotlight 360 has had on the charity’s strategy going forwards.

SELFA's seven-year triumph

23 November 2023

In 2016 SELFA Children's Charity were recipients of a Weston Charity Award, which not only supported the organisation with a core grant of £6,500 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, but also began a period of transformation through the Pilotlight 360 programme.

Soaring high for Eagle’s Nest Project

13 November 2023

Eagle’s Nest Project is a charity set up to work with young people aged 11-18 that are struggling to engage in mainstream education, often as a result of early childhood trauma. It offers alternative education solutions that build confidence and to equip them for more positive engagement in education and society moving forwards.

Helping One Roof Leicester get a clear direction

24 October 2022

"The Weston Charity Awards has helped us to rewrite our strategic plan. We've now got a new vision and mission and a very clear idea of what our journey is going to be over the next five years. It's provided a lot of clarity to everybody on the team."

Helping Hijinx to work out where to go next

24 October 2022

"It can feel quite tumultuous to start with because you're taking everything apart, but actually, there is that lightbulb moment where it all seems to coalesce and start to make sense. So yeah. Keep the faith. It's worth it."

Giving Active Fusion a clearer direction

21 October 2020

"The support from the Pilotlighters has given Active Fusion a clearer direction and has helped the charity secure funding from Doncaster Local Authority, Sport England, Awards for All and Children in Need."

Supporting Jericho Foundation to optimise its social enterprises

19 October 2018

"Overall, Pilotlight has helped us transform our corporate offer, our social impact reporting, and our human resources processes and management. These were key things we needed to address, but we just didn’t have the knowhow to work them out on our own. The work we’ve done will benefit our organisation and those we serve for many years to come."

Exploring how Malvern Special Families could develop

3 October 2017

“Working with Pilotlight has made a real difference to the governance of Malvern Special Families. We have been challenged to review the way we were working and now we are thinking more strategically and the board is working together more professionally and effectively."

Setting a focused vision for the future for SELFA

3 October 2017

"This time last year we weren't winning funding bids, and I couldn't work out why. Now I know why. We can go into a meeting and say who we are and where we're going. And now we're winning bids, and being approached to apply for bids. I don’t think in my whole career I’ve had a year like this – it’s been a transformational process for me.”