The first ever North East regional winner of the Weston Charity Awards, that sees charities across the North of England being mentored by senior business leaders, has been revealed.
Over the last year, six charities from across the North East have had access to a team of senior business leaders through the organisation Pilotlight, as part of the awards. Horden Youth & Community Centre (HYCC), which helps disadvantaged and isolated families in one of the most deprived areas of the country, was eventually chosen as the first ever regional winner.
HYCC, Centre Manager, Steve Clark says winning the award couldn’t have come at a better time:
“This has been a game-changing experience for us. I was always the financial worrier – thinking how are we going to pay this core cost? How will we afford that? However the business team really supported us in putting a new financial infrastructure and long-term strategy in place. We are now able to expand our services and our income is rising as a result. We are fighting fit and that’s a great feeling.”
Garfield Weston Foundation’s trustee, Kate Hobhouse, says:
“All the charities have come a long way since they were selected for the Weston Charity Awards and have made the most of the business support they have received over the last year. HYCC really stood out as they have expanded their services, reaching more people in their local community and increased their income – not easy in the current climate. This is what the awards are about, supporting small charities to do more and be fit and flexible for the future. We congratulate them on their success.”
The Garfield Weston Foundation and Pilotlight say they are looking forward to reaching many more charities over the next two years.
Pilotlight’s chief executive, Gillian Murray, says:
“We know that many small charities are finding it tough to fund their work and cope with an increase in demand for their services. As the spending review next week looks set to announce more cuts, it’s more important than ever that charities have access to strategic business support. By bringing together charity chief executives with dynamic business leaders we see how charities benefit and become more sustainable as a result.”
Adam Lopardo, Director of Partnerships at the Community Foundation said:
“A huge congratulations to Horden Youth & Community Centre. The Weston Awards exemplify the approach Garfield Weston Foundation has taken in the North East. They are not just a funder but a supporter and a partner, working with us and others to help organisations in the north east strengthen and grow. ”
Aimed initially at charities in the North East, the Garfield Weston Foundation is now running the awards across the North of England. It is hoped that eventually the awards will expand further to cover the whole of the country.