Applications for the Weston Charity Awards 2023 are open to environmental charities for the first time 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.
The Awards are open to registered charities that specialise in the fields of Community, Welfare, Youth, and, for the first time, Environment. This fourth strand is in recognition of the growing pressures on conservation and environmental charities.
Applications are now open to charities specialising in practical action around sustainable land use and fishing, renewable energy, recycling schemes, biodiversity, species preservation and protection, marine life, environmental education, climate change science and conservation.
Unrestricted grants of £6,500 are available for up to 22 ambitious charities with at least one paid full-time staff member in a leadership position and an income of less than £5 million per year. The cash contributions aim to instigate strategic change and accelerate innovative growth. Winning applicants also gain free access to Pilotlight 360 – a ten-month package of leadership coaching worth an estimated £16,000.
Pilotlight CEO, Ed Mayo, said:
“Despite growing recognition of the sheer urgency of environmental action, charities working in the field report that it is hard to access the funding and support that they need. By extending the Weston Charity Awards to include environmental charities, we are recognising the value of capacity building for the shift ahead to a sustainable economy and society.”
This help for charities is more vital than ever as the cost-of-living crisis escalates. Charities are seeing user numbers rocket while donations continue to decline with the threat of recession looming. Philippa Charles, Director of The Garfield Weston Foundation, added:
“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 coaching on everything from creative operational efficiencies to sustainable long-term business strategies. 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.
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.
Last year’s Weston Charity Award winners provided critical services to over 51,000 people. The charities worked across a variety of areas from social inclusion to environmental impact. One recipient was Wrexham-based social and environmental wellbeing charity, Groundwork North Wales. Groundwork collaborates with individuals and communities across North Wales to, amongst other aims, improve local green space, reduce waste, and to protect the natural environment.
Karen Balmer, Chief Executive of Groundwork North Wales, said:
“We were absolutely thrilled to hear that we had been selected as a Weston Charity Award Winner and couldn’t wait to start working with the Pilotlight team. We’re hoping the support will help us build on our strengths and improve our resilience, putting the charity in a better place to embrace future opportunities, as well as challenges.”
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 the ‘Everything you need to know’ Zoom session: Wednesday 16 November, 14:00 – 15:00 GMT
Register for the online session or see the full entry criteria on the PilotlightUK 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.