Manchester Action on Street Health, Your Voice Counts, Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid, Missing People, Raising Futures Kenya, and The Cowshed were crowned the winners of this year’s UK Charity Governance Awards, during its first live ceremony since 2019.
Taking place yesterday (26 May), each winner received a £5,000 cash prize (as an unrestricted grant), with all runners-up receiving a prize of £1,000. Shortlisted charities also earned rewards such as a one-year membership to the Association of Chairs and a training place on the Cause4 Trustee Leadership Programme.
The award for ‘Board Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’ had two joint winners, Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH) and Your Voice Counts.
Awards judge Jackie Driver OBE, Chair of Signhealth and Breakthrough UK, said:
“This year, judging this award gave us considerable food for thought. We think this is because the tide is turning, and boards across our sector are at last recognising the power of diverse leadership and taking concrete action to make this a reality for themselves. The competition is pleasingly fierce.”
MASH’s entry impressed judges due to its commitment to represent its beneficiaries at board level, fostering a culture of openness and collaboration, and for establishing a panel of past and present service users which feedback to the board.
Your Voice Counts won for its commitment to including people with learning disabilities and/or autism on their board. Recruitment of the ‘Experts by Experience’ is supported with investment allowing accessible and interactive training and practical workshops, with trustees receiving ongoing support to ensure all board meetings are inclusive.
I Choose Freedom (formerly Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid) won the award for ‘Covid Response: Embracing Risk and Harnessing Opportunity for Long-term Change’.
Missing People took home the Transforming Digital award.
The Improving Impact in Small Charities (0-3 paid staff) award went to Raising Futures Kenya, and The Cowshed won the award for Improving Impact in Small Charities (4-30 paid staff) primarily for its Elves project which gives Christmas gifts to people in need.
Deepak Nambisan, who chairs the Charity Governance Awards for the organisers The Clothworkers’ Company, said:
“Many congratulations to the winners, and to all the nominees for making it onto the shortlist. Once again, these exceptional charity boards have proved that, despite this difficult period we’re moving through, great minds working together can achieve great things. Innovation, swift action, a desire to learn and improve, and dedication and commitment help charities deliver vital support to their beneficiaries.
“It has also been a wonderful chance to celebrate with these charities in person at our awards ceremony. Being together in the same room gives us all an opportunity to make new connections, share ideas and be inspired by others in our sector.”
The ceremony took place at Clothworkers’ Hall in London. Sufina Ahmad MBE, Director of the John Ellerman Foundation, gave a keynote speech on the evening, ahead of a panel presentation with past winners facilitated by Saeed Atcha MBE DL, Founding CEO of Youth Leads UK and Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester.