2021 Winners

Learn about our winning and shortlisted entries from The Charity Awards 2021

The 2021 Charity Awards Gallery

The 2021 Charity Awards Gallery

The Charity Awards 2021 took place on the 10 June in an online ceremony. Click here to see a selection of behind-the-scenes photos from the broadcast.

Overall Award for Excellence

SeeAbility

Data shows that children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem and the more profound a child’s learning disability, the more that risk increases. Left untreated this can lead to sight loss and it is estimated that 50% of sight loss in individuals with special needs could have been prevented with treatment. SeeAbility set out to demonstrate to NHS England that providing specialist eye care within special schools would benefit children with special needs and ensure they were able to access their right to eye care on the NHS.

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The Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement

Gillian Morbey

Gillian Morbey was 21 and had just begun her nursing career in her home city of Glasgow when she had her first child. It was soon apparent to the Morbeys that their son wasn’t developing in the same way as other babies his age and for the first few years of his life, he was bounced from paediatrician to sensory expert to cardiologist, trying to determine why.

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Arts, culture and heritage

LOOSE

The impetus for LOOSE – known locally as The Studio – began in the 1990s. Residents in Halton, on the banks of the Mersey, knew that there were limited facilities for young people, but saw them gather outside pubs whenever a band was playing. This inspired the long process of creating The Studio, a space where young people, families and other charities could create and enjoy music and the arts.

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Campaigning and advocacy

Safe Passage

A group of volunteers who visited the “Calais Jungle” in 2015 discovered that thousands of refugee children were living alone, without adults, in squalid conditions. They were taking desperate measures to get to the UK, such as attempting to cross the Channel by boat, to reach relatives. It turned out that there were already laws in place to provide safe and legal routes for unaccompanied children – the Dublin Regulations. However, these were not accessible to vulnerable children and authorities were either ignoring their rights or delaying the process.

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Children and youth

Friends Families and Travellers

Gypsy and Traveller communities face some of the most severe health inequalities and their life expectancy is 10 to 25 years shorter than the general population. Young members of the community are more likely to drop out of education than their peers. A lack of learning about personal health at a young age has an impact later in life. Many young Gypsies and Travellers begin work in trades and go on to develop musculoskeletal problems and health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, partly because they did not get key messages about healthy diets through school.

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Disability

NOW Group

Belfast-based social enterprise NOW Group launched its Family Service to support expectant and new parents that have a learning disability or autism after identifying that these individuals faced specific issues. There are over 36,000 adults estimated to have a learning disability in Northern Ireland and research suggests that one in 15 women with a learning disability have children. This means there is an estimated 1,200 mothers with a learning disability in the country.

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Education and training

Stephens and George Centenary Charitable Trust

In 2012, 40% of children in Merthyr Tydfil were found to be functionally illiterate upon leaving primary school. In response, the Welsh education inspectorate placed the borough council under “special measures”, saying that the council had overseen schools that were “well below average” even accounting for the area’s high levels of deprivation. That same year, the Stephens and George Print Group, a firm based in Merthyr Tydfil, set up a charitable trust to help tackle the area’s education and literacy challenges. Following consultation with schools, social services and others, it put together a three-year strategy incorporating a range of initiatives.

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Environment and conservation

Trees for Cities

Around one in five children are obese by the time they leave primary school. Schools have a vital role in supporting the physical and mental health of young people – and Edible Playgrounds has helped them do so for over a decade, by providing places where pupils can grow their own food and explore other “greening” opportunities. Schools get shrubs, trees and greenery; children get to learn about where food comes from, as well as the chance to eat some of what they grow; and teachers even get horticultural training to make sure the programme is sustainable.

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Grantmaking and funding

Five Talents UK

Five Talents UK works with some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia and South America. The charity combines a microfinance model, which helps communities save and borrow money, with longer-term training in financial literacy and business skills. The organisation realised that the communities needed to overcome two key challenges in order to become more self-reliant. Traditional support, through grants and credit lines, had made people more financially dependent, while a lack of financial literacy made loans inaccessible and highly risky.

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Healthcare and medical research

SeeAbility

Data shows that children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem and the more profound a child’s learning disability, the more that risk increases. Left untreated this can lead to sight loss and it is estimated that 50% of sight loss in individuals with special needs could have been prevented with treatment. SeeAbility set out to demonstrate to NHS England that providing specialist eye care within special schools would benefit children with special needs and ensure they were able to access their right to eye care on the NHS.

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International aid and development

Excellent Development

In 2008, Excellent Development won the Overall Award at the Charity Awards for its work supporting communities in Kenya to build sand dams, harnessing cost-effective rainwater harvesting technology to provide people with clean, accessible water for life. At the time, it had been operating for six years and had helped 47 communities to build 155 sand dams in seasonal riverbeds. Twelve years later, the charity is still supporting people living in rural dryland communities to build sand dams and the need for its provision is greater than ever. Environmental degradation and deforestation in drylands are being exacerbated by climate change and the United Nations predicts that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity.

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Social care, advice and support

Suffolk Family Carers

The charity supports family carers of all ages to feel visible, valued, supported and connected. It was among the first carers’ charities to develop and implement a Young Carers School Award. Suffolk Family Carers identified two main issues. First, there are many hidden carers. Young carers do not readily self-identify and therefore remain hidden and unknown to services. Therefore, its first objective was to encourage young carers to self-identify.

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The Rathbones Covid-19 Response Awards

Frontline service delivery: Touchstone

Based in Leeds, Touchstone is a mental health and wellbeing charity that works to eliminate health inequalities amongst underserved and marginalised groups. When lockdown hit, a number of vulnerable people it worked with reported that food poverty was a huge issue, yet there was no local foodbank. Touchstone realised that people could not access its mental health services without their basic needs being met first, so the staff started collecting food donations from colleagues and family members to give out emergency food parcels.

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The Rathbones Covid-19 Response Awards

International: The Just a Drop Appeal

Handwashing with soap is the first line of defence against Covid-19, but this is a tough message to sell to people that struggle to access clean water. Just a Drop AppealIf people are forced to walk long distances to collect water, social distancing is almost impossible as they are usually surrounded by others making the same journey. And if you’ve carried that precious water several miles, the last thing you want to use it for is handwashing.

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The Rathbones Covid-19 Response Awards

Supporting other charities: London Funders

London Funders is the membership network for funders of London’s civil society. When Covid-19 hit, most of the frontline organisations funded by those members had to deal with two huge and simultaneous crises: extremely reduced capacity to fundraise and the need to redesign services overnight. London Funders knew that unless civil society organisations were supported quickly and flexibly, many Londoners, and people across the country, would not receive the help that they needed to cope with the fallout from Covid-19.

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