Awards for charities seeking specialist business support

November 14, 2023 - 353 views

Applications for the Weston Charity Awards 2024 are officially open thanks to a collaboration between The Garfield Weston Foundation and charity partner Pilotlight. 

This year is the 10th anniversary of the transformational support package worth over £22,000 to small charities in Wales, the North of England, and Midlands. The Awards celebrate and support ambitious front-line charities working in Community, Welfare, Youth, and Environment. 

Through the Weston Charity Awards, unrestricted grants of £6,500 are available for up to 22 charities to develop a strategic sustainability plan and accelerate innovative growth. Successful charities also gain free access to the Pilotlight 360 programme - a ten-month package of leadership coaching worth an estimated £16,000. 

Philippa Charles, Director of The Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “This year is the tenth anniversary of the Weston Charity Awards. Now more than ever, charities are seeking help to ensure a robust strategic future. The Awards underscore the Foundation’s passion for nurturing and empowering charities to thrive and support those who need it most.”

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. 

One beneficiary of the Weston Charity Awards in 2018 was Cardiff City Football Club Community Foundation. Established in 2009, the Foundation’s mission is to use the unique appeal of Cardiff City FC to change the lives of children, young people, and families in South Wales. Activities are delivered through a team of teachers, mentors, and coaches. 

Foundation Director Gavin Hawkey explained: “The Pilotlighters created a safe space for me to learn and grow. Their game-changing leadership coaching helped build my confidence to lead the charity through unprecedented times. Over recent years we’ve increased our resilience, built leadership capacity, and strengthened relationships with stakeholders. We recently published our new strategy ‘Changing Lives, Transforming Communities’ and are optimistic about our growth potential.”
A recently published Skills Sharing Impact Report showed that six months after participating in Pilotlight 360, an incredible 90% of charity leaders said the programme had a major positive impact on their strategic vision, with 100% saying it had positively impacted the effectiveness of their senior management team. Two years on from Pilotlight 360, charities increase their income by 43% (based on five-year rolling averages).
Pilotlight CEO, Ed Mayo, said: “Across the country, times are genuinely tough for people. Many charities supported through the Weston Charity Awards are small-sized and based in the most deprived areas of the UK. We give them space to think, access to the skills needed to help their communities, and a clear path ahead. I am grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation as funders of the Awards and our business experts who make this possible.”
Last year’s Weston Charity Award winners provided critical services to 48,541 people. The charities worked across various areas, including domestic violence and sexual abuse, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), social inclusion, alcohol and drug advisory services, environmental impact, ex-offenders, care work, refugee action, and adoption and carer support.
Registered charities over two years old (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. The application deadline is 5 pm on Wednesday, 10 January 2024.