- Advice, support and campaigning
- Arts, culture and heritage
- Children and youth
- Environment and conservation
- Healthcare and medical research
- Education and training
- Grantmaking and funding
- International aid and development
- Social care and welfare
Helping asylum-seekers achieve a better life in Britain
Before Migrant Help launched its Asylum Help programme in 2014, too many asylum-seekers arriving in the UK were left to navigate the complex bureaucracy of asylum application, and subsequent support services, alone. This often resulted in unrealistic expectations, inaccurate applications, inconsistent decisions and large volumes of unnecessary appeals.
So Migrant Help partnered with the Home Office to design a more efficient model of support, which led to the launch of Asylum Help in seven UK towns. The service involves standardised procedures aligned with Home Office processes; telephone interpreting in over 80 languages; enhanced staff training and a single quality standard. Face-to-face advice is retained but delivered in the accommodation where asylum-seekers are initially housed.
Taking on 120 staff from a number of partner organisations under TUPE arrangements, Asylum Help has already benefited 40,000 clients in just 22 months of operation.
Asylum Help has transformed the processing of asylum applications; 99.93 per cent of applications are now approved first time. And once their claim has been approved, Asylum Help clients are more ready than before to move into more permanent accommodation, helping them to start their new lives in full.
Asylum-seekers using the service are happy. Some 98 per cent rate the service as good or excellent. And the Home Office is happy too; less time spent on reviewing applications means a cost saving and reputational benefit.
Charity Awards judge Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said the charity had taken an “individual-centred approach to the work” which had been very effective.
CC reg no: 1088631
Revolutionising advice services in Portsmouth
Recognising critical wastage and inefficiencies in the way that vulnerable people were being given legal advice in Portsmouth, the YOU Trust transformed client support through its advisory service, with dramatic results.
Through Advice Portsmouth, the YOU Trust provides free support and legal advice to anyone in the local community struggling with poverty, homelessness, disability, ill health or abuse, age-related problems or other care issues. But inefficiencies in the previous system resulted in waiting times of up to three hours, with many people giving up and leaving without being helped.
After a three-month consultation, the YOU Trust completely overhauled the way it was managing the service. Employing a holistic, systems-centred approach, clients’ needs were put at the heart of the advisory process. “Pointless” initial form-filling was abandoned; instead, qualified legal advisers look closely at each individual’s particular circumstance and identify the root cause of their problems. With the help of volunteers, they then map out a plan of action, providing continued assistance and support in a friendly, safe environment.
As a result of the changes, average waiting time has been dramatically reduced from three hours to 12 minutes and service cost has plummeted from £300 per case to just £22.
Despite receiving less funding, Advice Portsmouth processes on average 13,500 cases each year, up from 9,000 before, and 99 per cent of client feedback rates the support received as excellent.
Charity Awards judge John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, said the charity had achieved “dramatic efficiencies”.
CC reg no: 291489
Making the arts accessible for disabled children
Eureka!’s Access All Areas project set out to bring more disabled children and their families to the children’s museum. Staff at the Halifax-based museum found that disabled children were often excluded from days out, simply because of poor physical access into a building or lack of support once there. The struggle to access theatre, arts, museums and leisure facilities within local communities was something Eureka! wanted to change.
After connecting with local disability groups, the museum secured funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for a three-year initiative to offer accessible activities and bespoke services.
Throughout the process, Eureka! would experience fundamental organisational change and focused heavily on staff development. A total of 250 staff were trained up on different aspects of disability awareness and that process has now become an automatic part of the induction process for new staff. Some 38 staff were trained in autism awareness; 15 became front-of-house sign language experts, 18 completed signed singing training, 12 were educated to deliver sensory story sessions and eight completed training in adapting activities for deaf children.
The museum engaged with 500 families during the process. An ‘extra pair of hands’ service was made available and remains a service offered to visitors on request.
New posts were opened up including a permanent inclusion manager and a specialist Access All Areas enabler.
The combined result was a 45 per cent increase in visits from families with a disabled child.
Visit England awarded the programme a gold Access for All award in 2015.
The programme’s success encouraged the museum to share its new knowledge far and wide, hosting a conference in 2014 to raise awareness about the barriers that families with a disabled child face in accessing family days out. Over 80 delegates attended, reporting that they were “inspired” to carry it further and reporting the initiative as a “major catalyst for change”.
Charity Awards judge Samantha Sparrow, director of Task Squad at vinspired, said the project “demonstrated strong evidence against most of the hallmarks of excellence”.
Chair of the Charity Awards judging panel Andrew Hind said Eureka! “successfully incubated a whole new mindset throughout the whole organisation”.
CC reg no: 292758
Bringing children’s ballet to new audiences
The Northern Ballet’s Short Ballets for Small People is an innovative project bringing ballet to new and younger audiences. In four years since its conception, it has reached 86,000 people through 253 performances in 40 venues.
A team of outreach workers have developed relationships with local community groups and schools, and tickets for shows have been offered for as little as £4 each in the hope of attracting larger audiences.
The programme has geared its national ballet tours towards lower socio-economic groups and areas of the UK with the least historical engagement with live ballet.
The project breaks new ground – moving away from previous children’s ballet productions that simply adapted existing productions for children – and instead creating fresh, new, short and sweet productions tailor-made for children. Shows differ from other popular productions like Angelina Ballerina, in that they are gender-neutral – an important priority for the producers who wanted to make it more accessible to both sexes.
A new position was opened for the role of artistic director of short ballets for small people, to ensure high-quality choreography across the board. And with each production no longer than 45 minutes, each show is easily digestible for children of all ages.
Shows to date have included familiar narratives like Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs, Elves and the Shoemaker, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Going on a Bear Hunt. Each was performed both to live audiences and broadcast by the BBC’s Cbeebies channel – attracting further audiences of more than a million in total.
The ultimate goal of the programme is to reach children at a young age and instil a life-long love of ballet.
Charity Awards judge Samantha Sparrow, director of Task Squad at vinspired, said the organisation’s approach to planning was very strong: “They took a lean and agile approach from the start and their impact was huge.”
CC reg no: 259140
Improving children’s health by teaching cookery in schools
The Children’s Food Trust has the mission to get every child to eat well – at home, in school and beyond. But if faces significant challenges: the rise of convenience food, the decline of cooking skills and a society in which the less healthy choice is often the cheapest choice – all of which have contributed to an obesity epidemic.
It was in this environment that the Trust received a £20m Big Lottery Fund grant to establish a network of 5,000 cookery clubs in schools, costing £5,000 each, under the name Let’s Get Cooking. It was rolled out across all 152 top-level local authorities, and aimed to reach children in areas of high deprivation and teach them how to cook. Its target was to increase food preparation skills among more than a million children and their family members.
It used a skills progression approach to help families measure their progress, extolled the virtues of healthy food, and provided recipes, session plans and skills charts.
The programme was very successful, with 92 per cent of attendees using their skills at home, and 58 per cent reporting that they ate more healthily thereafter. The eventual beneficiary count has been over three million people.
Since the end of the original project the campaign has increased its resources to run training in foodbanks, children’s centres and housing associations, and has refined its offering to cover shopping habits as well as cooking skills. It has also set up a “dads and lads” programme to get men cooking. A partnership with Tesco has expanded its reach still further. The programme has twice won the Royal Society for the Protection of Health award for health and wellbeing, and was given a Big Society Award by the Prime Minister.
Charity Awards judge Ruth Ruderham, fundraising director at Prince’s Trust International, said the project seemed very scalable, while Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said it had shown “inspirational leadership”.
CC reg. no: 1118995
Preventing violence among young people through education and safe spaces
In 2008 Jimmy Mizen, a 16-year-old schoolboy, was murdered 100 yards from his home in the local bakery in Lee Green, Lewisham. His senseless death drove his parents, Barry and Margaret, to look for answers as to why the tragedy had occurred. They found themselves wanting to instil values in young people which would prevent a repeat of this tragedy. This desire grew into the charity For Jimmy, set up to spread those messages.
The charity developed a detailed programme which worked in schools, particularly with those who were socially and academically at risk. It has now grown into a sizeable charity with 55 employees, increasing turnover by 300 per cent in three years.
The charity was concerned about research which found that charities’ prevention initiatives were usually only provided in PSHCE (personal, social, health, citizenship and education) carousel days – a subsidiary area of the secondary school curriculum which is designed to help children improve their lives but is often short-term, sidelined or poorly provided.
For Jimmy responded by creating a cross-curriculum programme which met school standards and could be linked to academic success, which is now delivered in 18 schools, and has worked with 572 children. The charity aims to increase this to 48 schools in the next two years.
It has also worked with shopkeepers, police and politicians to create Safe Haven spaces on the streets, and so far 172 high-street premises have signed up. If young people feel threatened for any reason they can enter the shop or agency, and it will lock its doors and call the police.
Charity Awards judge Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said the charity was “moving from a specific issue to a wider, whole-person approach”.
“Their storytelling is powerful but their evidence of impact is also good,” he said.
CC reg no: 1156974
Helping disabled youngsters to enjoy PE lessons
The participation of young disabled people in PE (physical education) lessons is consistently lower than their non-disabled peers, and where successful examples are available, it is a postcode lottery. Because school PE is usually the first experience disabled people have of physical activity, it is important for it to be a positive experience.
To combat this, Sainsbury’s Inclusive PE is managed and delivered by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and the four Home Country disability sport organisations, with support from British Paralympic Association, Youth Sport Trust and funding from Sainsbury’s. The programme is a Paralympic legacy-inspired initiative which focuses on developing and delivering training to increase the delivery of high-quality, inclusive PE lessons.
It aims to provide more young disabled people with a positive and inclusive experience of PE, which will translate into healthier, more active lifestyles.
The programme also aims to address a lack of confidence and competence among teachers and school staff in supporting young disabled people to do PE.
It involved a collaboration across the UK between key disability sports organisations who, alongside EFDS, engaged with and consulted a wider partner network of educational professionals including the Youth Sport Trust – who later became England’s delivery partner.
The programme has exceeded its original delivery targets. Nearly 7,000 teachers, school staff and trainee teachers have received face-to-face training across the UK, while 15,000 more have benefited from the materials and/or peer-to-peer expertise sharing.
And approximately 520,000 young disabled people have benefited from improved PE lessons at school.
CC reg no: 1075180
Increasing opportunities for deaf people to access therapy
Studies show that 40 per cent of deaf people will develop a mental health problem at some point in their lives – twice the rate of the hearing population. Despite this, only a few deaf people can negotiate barriers in the mainstream care pathway.
BSL Healthy Minds, delivered by SignHealth, is the only national Psychological Therapy Service with a specialist workforce who are all deaf or deaf culturally aware, and fluent in British Sign Language (BSL). It is the only Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service for deaf people.
Following conversations with the British Society for Mental Health and Deafness, as well as other health bodies, SignHealth – the leading UK supplier of specialist BSL health and social care services – won a contract with the North West Strategic Health Authority to provide IAPT for deaf people.
A 2015 evaluation found that 87 per cent of service users were fully satisfied with the service. Many even told the charity that they had lived for years with problems that had been addressed after a few sessions with a psychological therapist.
Depression and/or anxiety accounted for 46 per cent of referrals, however once treated it emerged that other more complex issues were often disclosed. Domestic violence was disclosed in 60 per cent of cases.
The service achieved high recovery rates of 77 per cent, compared to a national mainstream average of 44 per cent.
Charity Awards judge Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “This is exactly what the voluntary sector should be doing outside of statutory health provision.”
CC reg no: 1011056
Bringing local communities together over lunch
The Eden Project’s work is based on a belief that this century presents enormous challenges to society and that building community resilience can enhance sustainability. Following research published in 2008 that showed UK communities had become increasingly fragmented over the previous 40 years it developed the Big Lunch as a mechanism to connect people, reduce social isolation and spark change. While the charity is perhaps best known for its ecological site in Cornwall, this unique initiative demonstrates UK-wide reach, engagement in positive action and has created real social capital.
The charity realised that rather than preach about social cohesion it needed an uncomplicated way of reminding people about all that is good in the places they live. The Big Lunch aims to get as many people as possible to sit down with their neighbours one day a year in June a year. Each lunch is locally organised and therefore unique. It may not directly reduce problems such as crime or poverty, but helps people start to face up to tough issues.
The way in which the project has been delivered over the years has adapted as understanding has increased. Big Lunch Extras, a deeper engagement programme encouraging individuals to develop their own local projects, was launched in 2013.
The initial Big Lunch in 2009 saw 730,000 people take part around the country. In 2015 this had risen to 7.29 million. Almost 80 per cent of organisers identified a stronger sense of community after the event while 85 per cent of participants said it made them feel better about where they live. One observed: “I am speechless at how it has developed. I’d lived on my street for 35 years and hardly knew anybody before. Now you find people all over the place who know you because of the Big Lunch.”
CC reg no: 1093070
Restoring a vital home for Sussex wildlife
The rivers Arun and Rother in West Sussex stitch together a patchwork landscape of woodland, wetland and farmland, rich in wildlife and history. The location includes the UK’s most biodiverse 10km square, and nationally and internationally important wildlife sites. However, the area was at risk and decisive action was needed to protect it.
Working closely with six partner organisations, the RSPB has coordinated a £2.2m programme of conservation and public community engagement action. This comprised diverse activities to promote a rich, thriving river system, where wildlife flourishes, and to encourage people to value and enjoy it.
The ARC (Arun and Rother Connections: Linking Landscape and Community) project grew out of discussions between organisations working within the catchment who had made strategic commitments to landscape-scale heritage conservation. This has involved tackling big issues like disconnected habitats, invasive non-native species, pollution and erosion.
While the three-year project doesn’t end until November 2016, it has already delivered significant results across 49 areas of work including major capital engineering works to remove weirs and improve fish and eel passage, and the restoration of chalk streams, floodplain meadows, wet heath and ponds.
ARC has also developed educational resources and an oral history project, and engaged young people s through field trips. Local communities have been invited to participate in a rain gardens programme and major visitor and access improvements have been made at three local nature reserves.
RSPB has found that working with a range of agencies, community organisations and individuals lends great breadth and depth to a project, reaches new audiences and has greater impact. It also opened doors to working on private land. For example, the restoration of the Upper Arun involved meeting with ten landowners to secure their buy-in.
CC reg no: 207076
Providing intensive residential treatment for ex-service personnel
Combat Stress provides specialist clinical treatment and support to ex-servicemen and women with mental health conditions.
The PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme is a six-week residential programme to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder alongside other mental health problems. One in five armed forces veterans suffer from mental illness – 4 to 6 per cent of them with PTSD – and often find it difficult to engage with civilian programmes.
Launched in 2011, it is one of the first charity-led programmes to gain NHS specialised commissioning status, to treat people with complex combinations of PTSD and depression. Before attending the residential programme participants are stabilised with medication and other treatments.
It was the first time that the charity had designed an intensive treatment programme, as opposed to low-level respite care, and it recruited a team of people who had experience of running similar programmes elsewhere.
Residents take part in group skills training and one-on-one cognitive behavioural therapy. Psychometric tests are used to monitor the effectiveness of the programme and results published in peer-reviewed journals including the British Medical Journal reveal that participants experience a reduction in symptoms over time.
Results from study of 246 veterans who had participated in the programme show that 87 per cent experienced a significant reduction in symptoms, with 63 per cent no longer meeting the criteria for PTSD six months after taking part.
The programme now runs across three of the charity’s centres, with more than 1,000 veterans having received treatment.
Charity Awards judge Su Sayer said: “What Combat Stress is doing is great, and hugely needed.”
CC reg no: 206002 and SC038828
Building a network of volunteers to transport blood between hospitals
In 2008, the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes embarked on a five-year plan to expand the number of bike groups that transport blood and blood products free of charge around the UK. The initial group of organisations believed that a better co-ordinated and more professional service could have a greater impact.
The concept of the motorcycle courier services has been around since the 1960s but many were motorbike clubs that did a little bit of community work.
Since starting the project the number of groups has grown from six to 34 – an increase of more than 400 per cent. In 2015 blood bike groups responded to 45,000 requests from over 260 NHS hospitals and laboratories. The charity identified that the perception of ‘bikers’ could deter hospitals from engaging with them and sought to overcome this issue by professionalising the service with initiatives such as standardised uniforms.
It also reached out to motoring bodies in new communities to encourage more people to set up local blood bike charities, and offered support services such as liaison with the local hospital.
NABB has successfully lobbied government departments to allow it to be able to recover VAT and to permit Blood Bikes to take advantage of the same road traffic exemptions that apply to other emergency services – so its bikes can transport products more quickly. A similar operating model has also been introduced in the Republic of Ireland.
CC reg no: 1139714
Fighting the effects of exclusion through boxing
The Boxing Academy is a nationally-recognised school, with the ethos and feel of a boxing gym. It has developed a unique method for engaging vulnerable and challenging students. Since 2010, 90 per cent of them have progressed to further education, training or employment.
It was founded on the principal belief that exclusion from school is an inefficient method of dealing with behaviour in education. It has a detrimental effect on the child, the family and the wider community. Generally, Boxing Academy pupils have been referred because of a tendency towards violent or aggressive behaviour, and are usually the most difficult to place.
The Academy employs an intensive mentoring system within a framework of small class sizes, high-quality teaching, personal support and daily exercise to help even the most difficult-to-reach children reengage with their education. Daily boxing training delivered by ex-professional boxers means pupils can expend their energy purposefully, and learn teamwork, discipline and the acceptance of authority – but there is no contact sparring and they do not compete.
It was underachieving when its current chief executive was appointed at the end of 2009 and undertook a complete review of strategy. All staff were consulted and contributed to a plan for growth. As a result outcomes have improved year on year. Forty children are currently enrolled, including four girls.
School attendance has risen from under 60 to 91.5 per cent. Around a third of students gained passes in English and Maths GCSEs in 2010 while last year 80 per cent passed five GCSEs. Some 90 per cent of the 250 alumni since 2010 are still in education or employment. But most tellingly, while the ‘not in education, employment or training (NEET)’ figures are almost 20 per cent in Hackney, in 2015 100 per cent of Boxing Academy pupils went on to college.
The Academy has received recognition through numerous awards while independent evaluation by the Laureus Foundation estimates that the charity has a social return on investment value of 3:1. It will convert to ‘free school’ status later this year as that has been identified as the best way of replicating the model elsewhere.
Charity Awards judge Samantha Sparrow, director of Task Squad at vinspired, said the Academy’s entry was “extremely impressive, with a fantastic record of never turning anyone away”.
CC reg no: 1119931
Running a small grants programme for unrestricted development funding
One of the philanthropic ventures of the Hoare private banking family (Hoare’s Bank on Fleet Street), the Bulldog Trust is a charity that both distributes grants to charities and runs Two Temple Place.
In 2012 it created a partnership with another Hoare family Trust – the Golden Bottle Trust – to run a small open-access grants programme to provide unrestricted development grants (maximum of £30,000 over three years) to small to medium-sized charities and social enterprises, alongside strategic business advice from City professionals.
The application process is specifically designed to be simple and to encourage organisations to think strategically. Applicants submit very short proposals noting who they are and what they need rather than using a traditional application form, and promising applicants are contacted by a member of the Bulldog Trust team for further direct assessment. Proposals are judged on the strength of the transformational impact the grant will have and applicants set their own simple goals against which the success of each grant is evaluated. In order to provide maximum benefit to applicants, feedback on all applications is offered.
Up to three funding rounds are run each year and since 2012, the Golden Bottle Trust/Bulldog Trust programme has funded 45 projects (including Hackney Pirates, pictured) disbursed just under £1m and provided over 1,000 hours of strategic support. The average score for delivery has been 89 per cent and 63 per cent of grantees have gone on to access further major funding elsewhere. In addition 73 per cent of applicants have benefited from the pro-bono support of business professionals from the Trust’s Engaging Experience Network of 1,100 professionals offering skills and expertise to applicants and other charities alike.
Expansion is planned, with the aim of offering grants to 420 organisations over 2016-2019.
CC reg no: 1123081
Funding teachers’ ideas to help disadvantaged students
Let Teachers SHINE was created in 2012 to find and support the next big ideas to transform outcomes for disadvantaged students. Each year, ten teachers working on the frontline of educational disadvantage are supported and funded to implement their ideas which, once proven, have the potential to achieve a step-change in education outcomes nationally.
The programme aims to develop a pipeline of innovative and high-impact projects, and to identify projects that are easily replicable and scalable. It begins with an annual national competition of ideas from teachers, and offers around ten grants of up to £15,000. Three of these teachers are offered further funding of up to £20,000 to expand their ideas into other schools, either locally or regionally. Those that are identified as having potential for fast growth are then supported with additional funds, and business and legal support, to scale up and roll out.
SHINE secured sponsorship from corporations including Capita SIMS and Bloomberg and promoted the programme through a media partnership with Times Education Supplement. Since 2012, over £1m has been invested in 44 teachers, with eight of these replicating their ideas nationally.
Projects have reached 36,000 children nationally. One teacher, Colin Hegarty, is now in the further year of funding for his project, HegartyMaths, which has over 30,000 subscribers and almost 500,000 unique website users.
Over the last four years the programme has received more than 500 applications.
The charity has created a provision in its grants contracts which enable funding to be returned to SHINE to be recycled into programmes, should any successful projects secure social investment or sales income.
Charity Awards judge Danielle Walker Palmour described Let Teachers SHINE as “a good solid programme addressing real needs and filling a gap, with good planning and development”.
CC reg no: 1082777
Training young women to help educate girls in sub-Saharan Africa
Camfed’s Learner Guide Programme is an innovative model for opening up pathways to opportunity and employment for young women in rural areas of Africa.
Camfed’s initiative seeks to ensure that investments in education provide young people (particularly young women) with the necessary foundation to lead secure and productive lives. This is particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa, where youth populations are growing faster than anywhere in the world.
The lack of female teachers means that role models for girls and young women are few, and the quality of teaching, especially in rural schools, is low. So Camfed developed the framework of a ‘Learner Guide’ model that would enable young women to return to their local schools, support marginalised children in their studies, and deliver a life-skills and wellbeing programme.
In return for their commitment, they would receive an incentive package designed to support them to access business and education opportunities, making a successful transition to an economically secure adulthood.
Camfed has worked in rural African communities to improve girls’ access to education since 1993 but the Learner Guide Programme rolled out in Tanzania and Zimbabwe in 2013 and was subsequently extended to Ghana in 2014.
Camfed also made a number of ‘Social Interest’ loans, allowing young women to make an 18-month commitment to volunteering with the programme. These loans, made in partnership with Kiva, an online micro-finance provider, offered start-up loans free of interest.
Two years after the programme launched, 3,600 young women have been trained as Learner Guides and are working in over 1,000 secondary schools across Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Many have since gone on to further education, university, nursing college and/or teacher training.
The project was hailed in 2015 by Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, as being “a movement with the strength to reshape Africa”.
Chair of the Charity Awards judging panel, Andrew Hind, described the programme as “such important work”.
CC reg no: 1029161
Reintegrating female victims of abuse into Iranian society
The Omid Foundation aims to strengthen the social, emotional, and economic competencies of disadvantaged and abused young women in Iran. By offering them a safe haven and addressing their complex needs, its three-year programme of care, counselling and self-empowerment has succeeded in reintegrating over 86 per cent of beneficiaries into society.
As in many parts of the developing world, Iranian society has struggled to come to terms with modernity. Despite a wealth of natural resources, economic mismanagement and a repressive political regime have created a disempowered underclass, resulting in the collapse of the family as an institution. For women, the situation is exacerbated by a legal system, which not only gives them far fewer rights than men, but offers little protection against discrimination and violence.
Relevant local stakeholders including Iranian government agencies and local NGOs were consulted to help identify Omid’s focus and avoid duplication with existing initiatives. The holistic Omid programme was developed over a six-month period, and has been fine-tuned over the last ten years. It has gone from having eight full-time equivalent (FTE) paid staff and three FTE volunteers in 2005 to 76 and 52 respectively in 2016.
Of 402 beneficiaries enrolled, 345 have graduated from the programme since inception. Over 30 have gone to university, 11 have started a business and the remainder have been placed in employment. All have acquired a completely new outlook on life, with an in-depth understanding of women’s laws and rights, gender identity, their role in society and marriage, and an urge to transfer this to their peers, families, communities, and at their workplace. Based on qualitative data Omid believes that each graduating beneficiary has a positive impact on the lives of at least eight indirect ones.
Charity Awards judge Martin Edwards praised the “inspirational” foundation and said it was “impeccable in terms of its evidence base”. “The sheer physical bravery of doing that kind of work in that country is amazing,” he added.
CC reg no: 1115318
Developing Farmers towards Food and Income Security (DEFAR) project
Before Send a Cow launched its DEFAR project in Southern Ethiopia, local farmers and their families had substantially worse health, poorer harvests and access to clean water and were living in abject poverty. The majority of farmers were also not managing their land sustainably, with less than 10 per cent practising any kind of soil conservation methods at all.
With a project approach based on many years’ worth of experience from employees on the ground at Send a Cow Ethiopia and armed with a grant from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Developing Farmers towards Food and Income Security project was able to change that for communities in the Wolayita and Gamo Gofa Zones.
Over a three-year period, SAC Ethiopia was able to secure healthier, more secure and equitable diets for residents, with the number of food shortage months dropping from six to 1.8; greater, more diverse and better managed incomes for farmers and their families, who saw a 429 per cent increase in average annual incomes; better access to water and improved sanitation with an estimated 1,899 households and 11,394 people having improved access to clean water and a 93 per cent increase in farmers practising soil conservation methods.
SAC Ethiopia’s DEFAR project was given an A+ mark by DFID based on its demonstration of impact, while an independent evaluation of the project by Oxford University found that “in a short time, the health and wellbeing of households can be improved and poverty levels reduced. We encourage others to learn from these findings.”
Charity Awards judge Martin Edwards said the project had achieved some “extraordinary results”.
CC reg no: 299717
Delivering primary eye care to the whole of Rwanda
Vision for a Nation is a high-impact charity that supports health ministries in emerging countries to deliver nationwide access to local and affordable eye care.
Visual impairment is a hugely neglected global health issue, with some 285 million people living today with visual impairments and over 2 billion who live with poor vision but have no access to local eye care.
In 2009 the Rwandan Ministry of Health estimated that some 1.2 million of Rwanda’s 12 million citizens were in need of glasses and that some 300,000 of its citizens were clinically blind. Yet the country had just one ophthalmologist per million people.
In 2012, Vision for a Nation (VFAN) successfully supported the Rwandan health ministry in an initiative to provide all of the country’s citizens with access to local and affordable eye care. Through the organisation’s efforts, it has been able to achieve something that no other low-income country in the world has managed.
VFAN helped train 1,600 eye care nurses in the country; the equivalent of two specialist nurses in each of the country’s 502 local-level health centres. VFAN-trained nurses have provided over 426,000 screenings; distributed eye drops to 230,000 people with allergies and infections; corrective glasses to more than 61,000 and referred over 70,000 people for specialist treatment at local hospitals.
These services have already had a direct and positive impact on the country’s productivity with many people being able to return to work or remain in work longer, and thousands of children being able to continue their education.
The programme can become self-funding as each pair of glasses are purchased for 46c and sold to their wearer for $1.50 – a price deemed affordable by the Rwandan government.
The Rwandan government is now keen that the country becomes a global centre of excellence for eye care.
Charity Awards judge Su Sayer, chair of CPRE, said: “This is a win for the charity, a win for the Rwandan government, a win for everybody – a real no-brainer.”
Judge Prem Goyal added: “This is a really well planned and executed project, and the results are excellent.”
CC reg no: 1140123
Targeted interventions to reduce reoffending
Over a quarter of people detained by police report having one or more mental health problems, while 16 per cent of arrests are related to drug or alcohol withdrawal and a tenth are due to symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction. Furthermore, 5 per cent of people arrested have previously been arrested four times or more.
Little wonder then that the Bradley Report called for measures to reduce reoffending by improving the way the criminal justice system interacts with those with mental health problems and additional needs. It was this in mind that the Community Intervention Team, run by Community Links, was commissioned by the Police and Crime Commission to work with residents of South or West Yorkshire.
Nurses or police officers working in custody refer to the team individuals who have a history of repeat offending and who have mental health, learning disability or substance misuse needs, as long as they have expressed an interest in receiving support. Clients are then supported to identify and address the triggers for their rearrest over a period of eight weeks, and connected with the relevant support services.
The results speak for themselves. In the second quarter of 2015, there was a 72 per cent reduction in rearrests, saving the criminal justice system around £60,000. There was also a 25 per cent improvement in health and wellbeing outcomes among those seen by the service.
Overall, individuals saw increased motivation to change and improved mental and physical health. Clients re-engaged with statutory healthcare provision and community support when connections had previously been lost, and increasingly took responsibility for their own wellbeing.
Making the streets of Colchester safer at night
Such is the success of Open Road’s ‘SOS Bus’ in Colchester that it is hard to imagine the town centre’s nightlife without it. Not only does it help to reduce anti-social behaviour and support those suffering from excessive alcohol consumption, but also supports pub and club staff and eases the burden on emergency services. All through a service that is staffed mainly by volunteers.
The project is the result of a collaboration between Open Road, Essex Police, Colchester Borough Council, and Colchester Community Safety Partnership. They identified that if agencies worked together, they could bring benefits to the police, NHS, ambulance service, pubs, clubs, other businesses, and the voluntary sector – not to mention the 7,500-plus people that have been treated by the SOS Bus since October 2008.
The SOS Bus now has a team of 70 volunteers that maintain a visible presence in the town every Friday and Saturday night between 8:30pm and 4am, working closely with venues, door staff and emergency services. Anyone with a drug or alcohol issue can be referred to Open Road’s treatment centres across Essex, while staff from a specialist medical company can also provide minor or pre-hospital medical care on the bus itself.
By maintaining a clear presence on the streets, the Bus and volunteers act as a deterrent to crime – the project achieved a 17.5 per cent reduction in violent crime and anti-social behaviour in its first year. There has also been a clear fall in the number of people being taken to hospital, saving the public purse hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.
Charity Awards judge Martin Edwards, chief executive of Julia’s House hospice, said the SOS Bus’ record of more than 320,000 interactions since 2008 showed it had made “a big, big impact in one community”.
CC reg. no 1019915
Spearheading a national network of foodbanks
Every day people in the UK go hungry because they are in crisis and temporarily do not have enough money to buy food. There are many reasons for this, most commonly benefit delays or changes, low income and debt. Statutory organisations are often not able to respond quickly enough to these needs, yet a short-term crisis can easily escalate into difficult and costly longer-term problems.
Having been made aware of the problem of “hidden hunger” by a local mother, the Trust’s founders Paddy and Carol Henderson launched the first Trussell Trust foodbank from their garden shed in 2000. They went on to develop the principles that hold firm today: all food should be donated and volunteers should be enlisted to administer the food and provide non-judgemental emotional support.
After three years, the pair hired a professional to collate their knowledge into a ‘Foodbank Manual’, which was to be the foundation of the Trust’s social franchise model. The first associated foodbank was launched in Gloucester in 2004, and the Trust gradually built up a team of three regional managers and 16 regional development officers.
From humble beginnings, the network now comprises 424 foodbanks running over 1,200 distribution centres with the help of more than 40,000 trained volunteers. Each foodbank is supported by a network of around 25 educational establishments, 30 churches, 25 businesses and around 80 frontline professionals, who, among other things, participate in a referral system to identify and support those in genuine need. Some four million people have donated food.
Together, in 2014/15 Trussell Trust foodbanks dispensed 8,624 tonnes of emergency food to more than a million people across the country.
The charity also uses its evidence base to lobby government agencies on benefits and other policies, and recently successfully persuaded ministers in Northern Ireland to adopt some changes to the new Universal Credit after it had caused problems in the rest of the UK.
And in 2014 it launched a new programme, ‘More Than Food’, which brings other support services into foodbanks, as research had shown that foodbanks’ signposting to other agencies had had limited success. Now the Trust is partnering with other charities and services to offer advice on benefits, housing, budgeting, even legal advice, from within its foodbanks.
Charity Awards judge Paul Farmer described the programme as “21st century charity writ large”. Martin Edwards, chief executive of Julia’s House hospice, said it was a “really inspiring example of charitable impact and influencing”.
CC reg no: 1110522 and SC044246