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‘Weston Charity Awards’ Open for Charities Seeking Specialist Support

Applications for the Weston Charity Awards 2023 are officially open thanks to a collaboration between The Garfield Weston Foundation and charity partner, Pilotlight.

Now in its ninth year, the Awards offer a unique package of support worth over £22,000 to small charities in the North of England, the Midlands, and Wales. The Awards nurture leadership talent while amplifying a charity’s potential impact.

This help for charities is more vital than ever as the cost-of-living crisis escalates. Charities offering community and welfare services are seeing user numbers rocket while donations continue to decline with the threat of recession looming.

Through the Weston Charity Awards, unrestricted grants of £6,500 are available for up to 22 ambitious charities. The cash contributions are available to instigate strategic change and accelerate innovative growth despite current challenges. Winning applicants also gain free access to the Pilotlight 360 programme – a ten-month package of leadership coaching worth an estimated £16,000.

The call for applications is open to registered charities working with beneficiaries in the North of England, the Midlands, and Wales and which specialise in the fields of Community, Welfare, Youth, and, for the first time, Environment (in recognition of the growing pressures on conservation and environmental charities). Charities with at least one paid full-time member of staff in a leadership position and an income of less than £5 million per year are eligible to apply.

Feedback shows that two years after receiving Pilotlight support, charities on average increase their reach by 30%, income by 44%, and leadership skills in 94% of participants. Philippa Charles, Director of The Garfield Weston Foundation, said:

“As the cost-of-living crisis hits families and communities hard, we see a critical role for small charities in key regions who are supporting vulnerable people. Now more than ever, charities are seeking support to ensure a robust strategic future. The Awards can be critical in helping a charity grow their services for people in real need.”

Alongside grants, award winners receive an unrivalled package of leadership mentoring from four senior professionals across diverse private and public sector organisations. These empathetic “Pilotlighters” offer in-depth expert coaching on everything from creative operational efficiencies to sustainable long-term business strategies that take an organisation to the next level. Winning charities also access:

  • collaborative opportunities and events through Pilotlight’s network of UK charities.
  • two peer-to-peer support sessions with other award winners to share best practice.
  • a celebratory event for all award winners on conclusion of the programme.
  • the enhanced profile associated with receiving this award grant for excellence.

Pilotlight CEO, Ed Mayo, added:
“In tough times, there is little more inspiring than the hopeful, practical and compassionate action of frontline charities, working right across the UK. It has been our privilege to support these charities through the Weston Charity Awards and I am grateful to all the business experts who have taken part in teams to make this possible – and to Garfield Weston Foundation as core sponsors of the Awards.”

Last year’s Weston Charity Award winners provided critical services to over 51,000 people. The charities worked across a variety of areas including domestic violence and sexual abuse, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), adoption support, social inclusion, alcohol and drug advisory services, environmental impact, ex-offenders, care work, and refugee action.

One beneficiary of the Weston Charity Awards in 2022 was the North-East based charity, Young Asian Voices. This multicultural youth and community project supports young people as well as adults in the city of Sunderland. Executive Manager K. Ramanthas (Ram) said:
“[This support] has given us more skills to be proactive and find ways of organising our structures and time. It has given me confidence to have more visionary thinking and develop external partners as well as looking at the strategies of our organisation.

“I would recommend this […] programme to all other charity leaders. It has helped our organisation to grow, strengthen, and be clearer and more focussed. The skillset that each Pilotlighter brings is invaluable. We were grateful that we were part of this journey and look forward to taking Young Asian Voices to the next level.”

The application deadline is 6 January 2023.*

Find out more about the Weston Charity Awards, eligibility, application process, and what charities get out of applying by joining one of the ‘Everything you need to know’ Zoom sessions:

  • Wednesday 9 November, 14:00 – 15:00 GMT
  • Wednesday 16 November, 14:00 – 15:00 GMT

Register for an online session or see full entry criteria on the Weston Charity Awards section of the Pilotlight website.

*Supplementary information may be sought by the end of January for longlisting by a judging panel. A rigorous selection process is then required to handpick the very best third sector organisations worthy of recognition for their achievements. Final selection takes place and winners will be notified in May 2023.

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Weston Award Winner 2022: Young Asian Voices (Sunderland, North East)

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Notes to editors

Pilotlight Pilotlight is a charity that amplifies the impact charities, businesses, and individuals can bring to make a better world. They do this by bringing together leaders of business with ambitious charities to deliver real change, both for the charity and for the communities it serves. Since 1996, Pilotlight has helped over 1,000 charities that tackle social disadvantage to ignite change that lasts. The Garfield Weston Foundation Established in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded charitable grant-making trust which gives away around £90 million a year to charities across the UK. Each year the Foundation gives away its income and donations have continued to grow. Since it was established, it has donated over £1.4 billion, of which over half has been given away in the past 10 years alone. In the most recent financial year the Foundation gave away nearly £90 million to over 1,980 charities across the UK. Weston Charity Awards The Weston Charity Awards were created in 2014 and have since helped 126 charities across Wales, the North and the Midlands. The Weston Charity Awards will be extended as an annual award up to the end of 2025, following agreement by the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation and Pilotlight. In recognition of the pressures around environmental action, this will include a new window of support for conservation and environmental charities.

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