Six small charities in the North East of England have won the inaugural Weston Charity Awards and will receive mentoring from senior business leaders.
The six winners, working in the areas of youth, welfare and community, are:
- Bliss Mediation Services (Bliss) provides community mediation services to the Blyth Valley and other areas in the North East.
- Caring Hands addresses the needs of local older people and those with disabilities living in the community.
- Edward Lloyd Trust (ELT) focuses on the transition of people with learning disabilities from institutions to the community.
- Horden Youth & Community Centre (HYCC) helps disadvantaged and isolated individuals and families by encouraging them to improve their physical, social health and wellbeing.
- Northumberland Clubs for Young People (NCYP) supports over 1,500 volunteers and reaches over 6,000 young people to enable them to ‘be involved, enjoy and achieve’.
- ShARP (‘Shiney Advice and Resource Project’) works in the Coalfields area of Sunderland to provide advice and support to the community.
The mentoring will take place via Pilotlight, which has been matching senior and experienced business people with small charities for over ten years.
The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, said:
“The calibre of entrants was extremely high and the process has helped us begin new relationships with great charities as well as to strengthen existing ones. As part of the work the Garfield Weston Foundation is doing across the North East region we hope these awards will enable the six winners to be fit and flexible for the future and we congratulate them on their success.”
Problems faced by charities in the North East
The award has been welcomed by small charities around the region as research for the Foundation shows that government spending cuts have affected nearly two-thirds of charities (64%) in the North East, with almost 60% of charities seeing an increase in demand for their services. Charities with annual incomes of less than £200,000 were found to be the most vulnerable.
Bliss Mediation Services, Managing Director, Lorraine Walker said that the award could not have come at a better time for the charity. She said:
“Running our services has been very challenging during the recession, as we are being asked to do more work in the heart of the community to support people in need, yet there is less funding available. We are delighted our vital work has been recognised by the Weston Charity Awards and having support from business professionals will enable us to direct the organisation into the future, developing new and existing projects to reach more people in need and help local communities.”
Aimed initially at charities in the North East of England, the Garfield Weston Foundation has indicated that it hopes that the awards might develop further and eventually cover the rest of the country.
[message_box title=”Garfield Weston Foundation” color=”blue”]The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded, grant-making trust. Since it was established in 1958 the Foundation has given over £780 million to charities across the UK.
In 2013-14 the Foundation donated over £54 million. From small community groups to large national institutions, the Foundation supports a broad range of organisations and activities that make a positive impact in the communities in which they work. Over 1,800 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation’s grants.