Charity Awards 2024

Testimonials

Paul Anticoni, chief executive, World Jewish Relief - Winner, 2022, Education and training

It was an honour to win the 2022 Charity Award for Education and Training for our Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP) for refugees. The recognition was a real boost to our professional team and delivery partners across the UK, who are working hard to improve outcomes for 1,500 refugees each year through English language and employment support. The award was also a great opportunity to celebrate 90 years of World Jewish Relief helping refugees, to share our work with a wider audience and to look forward to our ambitious future.

Andy Evans, CEO, Dentaid - Winner, 2022, Healthcare and medical research

Winning this award was such an honour and cause for celebration for everyone associated with Dentaid. It was testimony that everything we’d worked so hard to achieve wasn’t just worthy of recognition in the dental industry but in the charity sector too. We’d entered the Charity Awards several years ago when we were just a tiny team with one mobile dental unit and what we hoped was a good idea about how to help people experiencing homelessness and other hard-to-reach groups to access dental care. Although we didn’t win that time, I’m so glad that we entered again after a period of rapid growth and increased demand for our charitable services. Winning the award has encouraged us to be bolder and more ambitious with our funding bids and the conversations we have with corporate and charitable partners. Completing the entry form and presenting to the judges helped us summarise the varied aspects of our work and the positive impact we have on our patients’ lives. It’s presented us with several PR opportunities, and we are so proud to have the Charity Awards Winners’ logo on all our charity dental units, website and marketing materials.

Tim Pare, co-founder, Tea Leaf Trust - Winner, 2022, International aid and development

Our experience with the Charity Awards was phenomenal. We didn't ever really expect to win, and doing so was an incredible validation for my wife and I as founders and the UK board, but more importantly, for our staff team working so hard in the Sri Lankan tea estates. They were ecstatic and so very proud. It boosted morale at a key moment. Above and beyond that though, the process of preparing the application enabled us to take a little time to reflect on who we are as an organisation, how far we have come and the impact we have. This is no small outcome. Winning the award also gave a great opportunity to tell our story and remind people of what we do and why we do it. It was wonderful for raising our profile and opening new doors. The logo sits proudly on our website and has been important for building our credibility. I highly recommend charities going through the process, because even if you don't win... you still win.

Gareth Pierce, director of income generation, Forget Me Not Children's Hospice - Winner, 2022, Children and youth

It was a huge honour to receive the Charity Award for our pioneering SUDIC service supporting families devastated by the sudden and unexpected death of their child. Importantly, that recognition has led to other hospices approaching us, looking to replicate our model in other areas of the country – meaning more families will get the support they need. Here at Forget Me Not, we celebrated this award not just in recognising the work of our SUDIC worker, but also the wider team. It’s helped the SUDIC work to be seen as part of our wider family support offer rather than as a stand-alone service. We’ve also been able to reference the award when advertising to and recruiting prospective employees.

Dave Wolfgang Ferrier, director of operations, Pure Innovations - Winner, 2022, Disability

Winning in the disability category for our Pure Kitchen Bakery Project in Stockport has been significantly impactful for the clients that attend the bakery and make the most delicious bread and cake that is then purchased by people across Greater Manchester. For me as director of operations of Pure Innovations and the creator of the Bakery Project – it was always my dream that one day our clients at the Bakery would receive some truly deserved recognition for the way they have worked together as a team, learnt new skills to then go on and be making consistently the best bread and cake! (everyone loves and needs cake in their life’s) The sense of achievement, belonging and purpose our clients have had from winning the award is unquantifiable, you can walk into our bakery and instantly feel the sense of pride everyone has in what’s been achieved! More importantly what this award has done is to challenge perception of what can be achieved by people with a disability, challenging mindsets, and opinions of disability across communities, where disabilities are seen as abilities! On returning from the awards, all our clients attended a celebration event, where they received their own replica awards! To ensure everyone involved will always remember what impact they have had in making Pure Kitchen Bakery the success it has become. Many Thanks to the Charity Awards and the judging panel – very best wishes to the 2023 nominees.

Paul Carbury, CEO, Smallwood Trust - Winner, 2022, Grantmaking and funding

Winning in the Grantmaking and Funding category at the 2022 Charity Awards marks a continuation of our founder Edith Smallwood’s legacy and tribute to the tireless work of our Community Grant Partners and staff team. The Smallwood Trust has been helping women out of poverty since 1886 when Edith Smallwood founded the Trust and collected small sums of money to benefit the women around her. The award came about at a time of great transformation for the Trust, defined by shifting power to frontline women’s organisations who are supported to disperse Smallwood funds as hardship grants to the most financially vulnerable women in the UK. Our success was met with huge congratulations across the sector, was a huge boost for staff and partners and has raised the profile of our mission to enable women to be financially resilient. The award acts as a testimony to the life-changing services our Community Grant Partners offer the women that come through their doors, many of whom have nowhere else to turn. Knowing that experts within the charity sector have assessed Smallwood’s work and recognised its vital importance is an honour. We were delighted to celebrate this achievement with our dedicated staff and Trustees and will continue striving to tackle the root causes of gendered poverty in the years to come.

Dr Tracy Carlton PhD, FCIM, director of marketing and business development, Services For Education - Winner, 2022, Arts, culture and heritage

Services For Education is a Birmingham-based charity that uses the power of learning and of music to create and build confidence amongst children, young people, adults and communities. Being declared the Charity Award’s winner for Arts, culture and heritage in 2022 was - and is - a great accolade and a cause of great celebration amongst our staff who work tirelessly for the children, schools and communities of Birmingham. That we received this honour during our tenth anniversary year made the award even more noteworthy. Awards are important - particularly for charities – for they provide an opportunity to extend our brand reach as well as independent verification of our work. There can be no greater honour than being assessed by experts in their field and rated against your peers. We have found that entering awards is a lesson in its own right. Probing questions that require evidence-based responses is a hugely useful way of enabling us to assess ourselves before we are assessed by others. And the thrill of being shortlisted – let alone winning – is reward in its own right.

Charles Harvey, director of trusts fundraising, Five Talents UK- Winner, 2021, Grantmaking and funding

I’d say to any charity thinking of applying to the Charity Awards, don’t let the paperwork put you off! For Five Talents UK the award has been really important in providing a stamp of quality and external validation on the work we do with our partners in eastern Africa. As a direct result of being featured in the Charity Finance magazine, we were contacted by a Trustee from a little known charitable trust who wanted to find out more about our work. We have since secured a long-term funding agreement for a significant sum with the Trust, and we are looking forward to a fruitful ongoing partnership. We also use the Charity Awards logo on our website, emails and in our publicity, and for our small UK staff team our award continues to be a source of great pride and encouragement.

Donna O'Brien, policy, public affairs and research manager, SeeAbility - Overall Winner 2021

Winning two Charity Awards has been incredible for our charity’s profile and credibility, and helped shine a light on an entrenched health inequality experienced by people with learning disabilities that is fixable with the right model of eye care. While our policy work continues, to be able to say this is an award winning programme and research has given us the ability to showcase our work to a much wider audience, nationally and internationally. We came to the end of our five year strategy this year, and the awards win was a major highlight to collectively celebrate amongst colleagues, trustees and funders. It’s a badge of honour that continues to help us attract interest in other areas of SeeAbility’s work to this day. As charities we all know the difference our work makes in the world, and we would encourage anyone to apply and articulate those achievements, as they deserve celebration.

Dwain Lucktung, communications manager, Sand Dams Worldwide - Winner, 2021, International aid and development

Winning the award was a huge boost for the Sand Dams Worldwide team and our various in-country partners who work tirelessly to support vulnerable dryland communities to access clean water with sand dams; in turn enabling them to restore degraded land, rebuild their livelihoods and regreen local environments. With close to 20 years of impact, we felt it was the right time to enter (the application was fairly painless too!), and were thrilled to have won and share the success with our supporters and stakeholders who have given so much to the organisation over the years.

Sarah Mann, director, Friends, Families and Travellers - Winner, 2021, Children and youth

Like many other community organisations, awards aren’t necessarily why we do what we do. To be recognised by The Charity Awards for our Children & Youth work helped cement that we’re on the right track. Winning an award not only affirmed our vision but helped provide much-needed recognition of the hard work and volition of each and every member of our team. From application through to receipt, The Charity Awards team kept us informed and updated at every turn—it has been a pleasure. Notably, receiving an award meant that we now have another tool in our arsenal to help the future planning of our projects work, ultimately helping strengthen the futures of young Romany, Irish Traveller and nomadic people.

Jaki Florek, director, LOOSE - Winner, 2021, Arts, culture and heritage

All at LOOSE/The Studio would like to send a BIG thank you for our 2021 Award for The Studio Project. It gave all staff, volunteers, and participants and our local community a massive and much needed boost to morale. Despite the Ceremony being online in 2021, it was so beautifully presented it felt very special. Good luck to all nominees for the 2022 Awards!

Alan Bell, chief executive and founder of the Scottish Centre for Personal Safety - Winner, 2019, Disability

Winning this award is really a great honour. We won a disability award and this is really for our work for the personal safety courses that we do with blind or visually impaired. It's not really my award or the charity's award, it's really an award for all the people we have helped. It's an absolutely wonderful event. And I must say, the scrutiny each application comes under is immense, making winning so much more rewarding. Thank you from all at The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety

Princess Adenike Lawson and Debora Singer MBE, Consonant - Winner, 2019, Campaigning and advocacy

We entered the Charity Awards because the campaign that we've been running demonstrated a huge amount of persistence and a lot of cooperation between different partners and as a way of focussing on our goals. It actually took eleven years to get the Home Office to provide childcare in Asylum interviews and we felt it was a good way of demonstrating the success of this campaign. This Award is very very important to us because this has really grounded all of our efforts of those who have counted on childcare so we are really very grateful and excited.

Duncan Dunlop, chief executive and Marie-Claire Jones, Development director, Who Cares? Scotland - Overall Winner 2018

Getting this award was a very useful bit of prestige and legitimisation and credibility. When you’re trying to give a different narrative to an entrenched system, the system does fight back to try and maintain the status quo. It’s also given respect to the care experienced community. People used to say it wasn’t safe for them to own their care identity or to give them a voice. Well-intentioned people would say ‘let’s not re-traumatise them by hearing their story’ and ‘let’s not connect them with other care experienced people because no good will come from that’. When you’re doing something like this you do get a lot of pressure and that can lead to doubt. But winning this award has really reinforced that we’re on the right track. It’s been hugely motivating for our staff and members to see this recognition on a UK level, as it’s easy to think of ourselves as just a charity in Scotland. It was an overwhelming achievement for us, a real celebration.

Chloe Rickard, Communications manager Cool Earth Winner, Environment & Conservation, 2015

We didn’t think we stood a chance at being shortlisted for a Charity Award, let alone winning one. But I would recommend even the smallest charities enter. Even filling in the application is such a brilliant exercise. Having to distil exactly what was great about a project has so many applications in other areas of the organisation. It can help with future planning and wider communications, and is great for showing your teams (and donors) that what they invested time and resources in really worked. The best bit for me was filling in the Hallmarks of Excellence – ten attributes that show your organisation is up there with the best. It wasn’t easy to write, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dipped back into the application since applying, because the stuff I wrote about how we display these attributes is proving indispensable for Charity of the Year applications, web copy, and annual reports.

Heidi Travis, chief executive, Sue Ryder – Winner, 2013, Education and training

“To win such a prestigious award, when the other finalists were truly inspirational, was incredible, and a real testament to the value of the Prison Volunteer Programme and the great partnership with the Prison Service. Everything from selling the programme through an initial application form to preparing presentations for the judging panel was invaluable to our staff and a great learning experience. Sue Ryder was delighted that our vital work – which not only helps Sue Ryder and the prisoners themselves but society as a whole – received the recognition it deserved.”

Rob Owen, chief executive, St Giles Trust – Winner, 2014, Advice, support and advocacy

“What better way is there to say thank you to your hard grafting staff, to celebrate the success your clients have had and help shine the light on great work that is making a huge difference to so many extremely disadvantaged and hard to engage lives than nominating them for this prestigious honour. We were so thrilled that St Giles Trust gangs exit service SOS was singled out – we know it’s great, our funders and partners see its value. But it’s a great platform for others to better understand that by doing things radically differently you can get giant step changes in outcomes that everyone in society benefits from. I cannot encourage you enough to enter The Charity Awards. Think simply this – why wouldn’t you want to nominate one of your teams.”

Leigh Pearce, interim chief executive, Nationwide Foundation – Winner 2014, Grantmaking and Funding

“Of course our delight at being announced as a winner was huge, but once the excitement of the celebrations had died down, we realised that winning the award for Grantmaking and Funding had deeper on-going benefits. As a team, it energised us and the external approval of our work by the awards’ panel increased our confidence in our approach. Plus, as a funder we were able to share our success with our hard-working grantees, who deserved to take some of the credit for our win. We would definitely urge others to enter the Charity Awards as the process of scrutinising your organisation and recognising where there is good practice and achievement is very worthwhile.”

Sabrina Sallis, fundraising manager, Promoting Equality in African Schools (Peas) – Overall Winner, 2013

“Winning the award has been a huge achievement for Peas. It was recognition for our staff in Uganda, Zambia and the UK for all the hard work they do and to keep striving for more. I would urge any charity to get involved as the process is straightforward and the impact is huge.”

Peter Crory, chief executive, YMCA Scotland – Winner, 2012, Children and young people

“Winning the award in 2012 proved to be not only a real encouragement to all those working on YMCA programmes across Scotland but also to be an accolade that has been recognised by partners and which has provided YMCA Scotland with significant additional credibility and opportunity as we go about our work.”

Sue Gwaspari, director of part-time volunteering, CSV – Overall Winner, 2010

“Having not put in for an award before we at CSV ViCP were totally unprepared for the incredible impact winning the award has had on our work with chaotic and neglectful families. Not only has the award raised the profile of this work as a direct result of the media attention and coverage that immediately followed, but also by having the endorsement and the winner’s logo which appears on our website, publications, emails and stationery. Winning the award has undoubtedly opened many doors previously closed to us. Although this work is challenging and not without risk, local authorities are now much more likely to fund this initiative so we can help more children and families.”

Dr Deborah Briggs, Global Alliance for Rabies Control – Winner, 2013, Healthcare and medical research

“Winning in the Healthcare and medical research category has not only increased recognition of our charity’s work in the field of rabies control, but just as importantly, has given the communities we work with a greater sense of pride in the programmes, further encouraging sustainability. We would definitely encourage other charities to apply.”

Benita Refson OBE, chief executive, the Place2Be – Winner, 2011, Advice, support and advocacy

“Winning the Charity Awards 2011 for Advice, support and advocacy was a real boost of morale for those delivering our direct services to children and families, currently in 170 schools around the UK and available to 58,000 children. The award was recognition of The Place2Be’s previous 17 years of growth and gave our partner schools, our employees, volunteer counsellors and funders a real sense that their investment was worthy of an award. We have since had many enquiries from schools across the country. We believe that our funders past and current were encouraged by the depth of the due diligence carried out in connection with the award, providing them with the necessary comfort that their investment in Place2Be services was well placed to make a lifetime of difference to children and families in schools.”

Karen Edwards, chief executive, Bolton Lads and Girls Club – Winner, 2011, Children and youth

“We were thrilled to win one of the most prestigious accolades in the UK charity sector. Since winning the award, the profile of our organisation has been heightened locally, regionally and nationally through the subsequent press and media attention and acts as an additional motivator to all people involved in the project, helping us to help even more young people. I would urge anybody who is considering applying to The Charity Awards to go for it!”

Steve Finn, senior operations manager, Blue Sky – Winner, 2010, Social care and welfare

“A big thank you from the bottom of my heart for the chance that The Charity Awards has given me. As a result of winning our sector category I was able to attend the Leadership in Management Course run by The Leadership Trust Foundation.The week was such an eye-opener for me. I came away with so many positives and this has already come to the fore not only in my development in the workplace but also my personal life. Winning the award has given Blue Sky the confidence and opportunities to go from strength to strength, and I would encourage any charity to give it a go.”

Martin Edwards, chief executive, Julia’s House – Winner, 2012, Healthcare and medical research

“Winning the Healthcare and medical research category was a huge affirmation of the quality, innovation and impact of our services. It raised the profile of respite care, an often-undervalued but vital help for families with a seriously ill child. And it made our hard-working staff and volunteers feel good about all their efforts over many years.”

David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy, Mencap – Overall Winner, 2011

“Winning the Overall Award at the last Charity Awards has had a huge impact at Mencap. When the sector is operating in a climate that is throwing up new uncertainties and challenges everyday, being rewarded for the important work we do provides much encouragement. Our experience, from entering to winning, was great and I’d encourage any charity with something good to say about itself to enter.”

Gerri McAndrew, chief executive, Buttle UK – Winner, 2011, Education and training

“Winning the Education and training category in 2011 has been a huge boost to our plans to expand the work over the coming years, providing additional validation for what we are achieving. We have also had a lot of positive feedback from those involved in the scheme… the recognition of their commitment to improving the opportunities for care-leavers in education has been very motivating, particularly during such challenging times.”

Diana Garnham, Board member, Construction Industry Training Board Trustee, Sense about Science

The Charity Awards bring something unique to the charity world by celebrating leadership, innovation and excellence in how charities deliver their aims. I am very proud to have been part of the judging panel and to continue to support the Awards. The Charity Awards step beyond identifying good causes to showcase good practice in a very special event of celebration. The Awards serve all of us, in the voluntary sector and more widely, to look not just at what we do and why we do it, but also whether we do it as effectively and transparently as we could, and should.