Applications are now open 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.
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.
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.
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.
"The charity has grown from strength to strength through this programme and we've been successful of other large grants during this time of the Pilotlighters support."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"Taking part in the Pilotlight 360 was extremely useful and we were very fortunate to have Pilotlighters supporting us who were committed to helping us develop as an organisation."
"I've been very impressed by the calibre of the Pilotlighters. We now have a firm foundation from which to take the charity forward."
"The support over the last year has been invaluable. The sessions have helped me identify some key operational improvements and commit to implementing those changes. Improvements I’m confident will make a huge difference to our performance and ultimately benefit our beneficiaries."
"Pilotlight 360 exceeded my expectations and has been an invaluable process for me. I’ve been blessed with a great team of Pilotlighters. I’m not sure if I’d still be CEO without the Pilotlight 360."
"Pilotlight has helped myself and the chair realise we're on the same page. We've worked hard to constantly implement change off the back of meetings, which has made the process incredibly useful!"
"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."
"The team of Pilotlighters helped us to reflect on why we wanted to launch a new social enterprise and very importantly how this fitted in with the charity’s aims and vision (which they also helped us to fine tune)."
"We’ve moved from only thinking about the short to medium term, to looking at the long-term and the bigger picture."
"The help and advice we've been given has been incredible, and has certainly helped us gain a more professional and structured way of thinking about the charity."
"Pilotlight was the perfect platform and catalyst to ignite our flames and get us energised and excited about the future again."
"The Pilotlighters really helped to shape the strategic planning process and gave us very valuable critical comment and feedback. Now more than a year after completing the programme we are very clearly reaping the benefits."
"Working with the Pilotlighters has given the Zest team confidence to think more commercially. We’re in a very different place now.”
“I thought we’d just get tools to work through, instead we got a complete audit of how we operate. The process has been bigger than we thought it would be.”
“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."
"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.”
"Pilotlight gave me the confidence to go for things –to stretch that little bit further."
"We’ve found that we are already looking at things with a different mentality – we can see the bigger picture."