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Magpie Dance & Crohn’s & Colitis UK among UK Charity Governance Awards 2024 winners

Melanie May | 31 May 2024 | News

Representatives of Magpie Dance hold their award at the UK Charity Governance Awards. Credit: Kate Darkins
Credit: Kate Darkins

Six charities: Magpie Dance, Recovery Cymru, Crohn’s & Colitis UK, Become Charity, APARU and Disability Rights UK, have won the UK Charity Governance Awards 2024. Announced yesterday evening (30 May), they each take home a prize of a £5,000 unrestricted grant.

The annual UK Charity Governance Awards recognise best practice in governance within areas including digital strategy, diversity and equity, and tacking systemic challenges. National and local charities of all sizes can enter for free. As well as category winners receiving a £5,000 unrestricted grant, runners-up receive £1,000, and all shortlisted charities receive a paid one-year membership to the Association of Chairs for their board and a complimentary place on a Cause4 Trustee Leadership Programme for a new or inexperienced trustee.

Credit: Kate Darkins

Category winners

Magpie Dance was the inaugural winner of the new ‘People in Governance’ award. Judges rewarded the charity’s board for its commitment to seeking trustees with diverse skills, experience and talents. Trustees are developed through peer mentoring, annual reviews and by partnering staff on ‘task and finish’ groups. The establishment of a ‘shadow board’, comprising current participants with learning disabilities, has been instrumental in amplifying participant voices and fostering deeper connections between trustees and dancers. Breaking Barriers and Candlelighters Trust were the runners up.

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Recovery Cymru won the ‘From Systemic Challenge to Meaningful Change’ category. Judges were impressed with how the board become a transformative force within local treatment services. By actively engaging with the Cardiff & Vale Area Planning Board, Recovery Cymru positioned itself to co-produce a person-centred model of service delivery, fostering agility, collaboration and equality among partners. It has now secured a pivotal role in the Cardiff & Vale Drug & Alcohol Service, further amplifying its reach. South West Blood Bikes and The Scottish Pantry Network were runners up.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK took home the ‘Transforming with Digital’ award. When the charity sought to overhaul its outdated systems and implement a more streamlined process across the organisation, the board played a pivotal role in championing the project. Trustees gained buy-in from staff, prioritised investment and provided oversight throughout the process, as well as defining a clear mission to help the charity achieve organisational change. Cash for Kids was runner up.

‘Improving Impact in Small Charities (0-3 paid staff)’ was awarded to APARU, a charity run entirely by trustees and volunteers supporting the Argentine community in the UK. After consulting UK stakeholders, the charity shifted its strategy to refocus its resources towards local initiatives. This strengthened relationships in the migrant community, ultimately bolstering support for vulnerable groups in Argentina that remain the charity’s priority. This shift resulted in a substantial growth of beneficiaries (from 92 in 2022, to 555 in 2023), and increased profits despite increased expenditure. Due to this, the charity was able to provide numerous sanitation facilities and cover medical care for almost 500 vulnerable children in South America. Number Champions and Teenage Helpline were runners up.

Become Charity won the ‘Improving Impact in Small Charities (4-30 paid staff)’ category. Frustrated by the consistently poor outcomes that care-experienced young people face in the UK, trustees wanted to position Become as a campaigning leader in this space. They designed a new Policy, Communications and Campaigns directorate, appointed a new CEO, ensured 50% of trustees are care-experienced, and embraced digital innovation to expand its reach to young people. 999 Club and Unfold were runners up.

The ‘Board Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’ award was won by Disability Rights UK. Judges recognised how diversity and inclusion were not just box-ticking exercises, but woven into the fabric of the organisation, including its trustee recruitment, its meeting procedures and ongoing assessments and appraisals. More than 90% of its board members identify as disabled individuals, representing a spectrum of experiences and perspectives. More than 50% of the board are women, ethnic minority representation exceeds 25%, and the average age of board members is well below the national average for trustees.

SignHealth was awarded a Special Commendation for continued excellence within ‘Board Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’, a category which the charity won five years ago. They received a trophy and an unrestricted grant of £1,000 in recognition of their ongoing achievements. Possible and Students Organising for Sustainability were runners up.

Jocelyn Stuart-Grumbar, Clerk to The Clothworkers’ Company, the organisers of the awards, said:

“A huge congratulations to our brilliant winners and to everyone who made it onto the shortlist. Yet again, so many success stories, often in the face of immense challenge, have made it tough for the judges to pick the best of the best.

 

“Around two-thirds of our shortlist were small charities with under 30 employees – an even greater showing than last year – which demonstrates what incredible things can be achieved when you have outstanding trustees on board and harness those talents in innovative ways. I hope the whole sector will be inspired by the great work our winners, and nominees, have achieved.”

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