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20 frontline charities win 2021 Weston Charity Awards

Melanie May | 9 June 2021 | News

Weston Charity Award winner Disability North: Vici Richardson and her son, Zak

Twenty frontline charities from the North of England, the Midlands and Wales have won this year’s Weston Charity Awards.

Among this year’s recipients are Disability North, Kingstanding Regeneration Trust, The Children’s Foundation, Stockport Women’s Centre, and One Roof Leicester.

Each charity will receive strategic planning support from a dedicated, senior team facilitated by leadership charity Pilotlight along with a core grant of £6,500 from Garfield Weston Foundation.


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Between them, the winners provide services to over 72,000 people and range in size from £100,000 to £2.5 million annual income. The charities support families experiencing domestic violence, people with physical impairment and homeless people among other causes. A majority have been hit financially by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation said:

“As the pandemic shifts, we are seeing an altered landscape for small charities. Our selected charities have shown courage and resilience this year in delivering vital services in the face of uncertainty and growing need. This year, more than ever, the Foundation is helping charities shift gear by providing dedicated support for long-term planning. The Weston Charity Awards have a proud record of helping charities to adapt services, diversify income and thrive into the future.”

Disability North CEO Dr Victoria Armstrong said:

“We’re exploring options to develop independent living apartments along with a new contemporary hub to host our activities that will further promote the welfare of disabled people in our region. We will benefit tremendously from external input as we embark on this business transformation.”

After a year in which all Pilotlight programmes have been delivered digitally, this will be the first cohort of Weston Charity Award winners to embark upon a new blended model that includes a series of virtual coaching sessions over ten months with a hand-picked team of senior business and charity leaders along with some face-to-face meetings. Although satisfaction rose last year among charity leaders participating in what became a virtual coaching experiment, they reported fewer indirect benefits such as relationship and network-building.

Ed Mayo, Chief Executive of Pilotlight said:

“Last year taught us a lot about delivering online leadership coaching and we discovered many unexpected benefits for charity leaders and for senior professionals offering their time. Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, starting with these twenty charities, we will keep the best of what we have learned, using virtual delivery at key points, helping to engage charity Board members through the ease of access. We also believe it will power our ambitions to attract a larger and more diverse group of business leaders to join us.”

The Small Charity Leaders Insight Report 2020 published by Pilotlight in the Autumn, showed an unmet demand for external pro bono support from those running smaller charities with around two-thirds (66%) of those polled for the report said they were actively seeking skilled pro bono support at the end of 2020, but nearly half (44%) were concerned that managing corporate volunteers would be time-consuming.

Pilotlight research also shows an appetite for skilled volunteering among UK workers. A poll during the pandemic revealed that one in ten workers (11%) already gives their time to charity with the help of their employer, whilst 50% want to volunteer their professional skills to charities but struggle to find the time or means to do so. Over three quarters of workers said they expect business to help people volunteer.

Main image: Weston Charity Award winner Disability North: Vici Richardson and her son, Zak