An inspirational charity leader has taken home the Charity Champion Award at this year’s ScottishPower Foundation Awards, where the legacy and impact of the Foundation’s charitable support over the past nine years was also celebrated.
Fatima Mohammed, Vice Chair of LINKES Community Project in Knightswood, Glasgow, won the Charity Champion award for going the extra mile to support her local community through a vibrant programme of community activity including a vital new food project, community events and a women’s group.
The work she helps deliver supports the diverse local community, which is among some of the most deprived areas in Scotland*. During her time with LINKES, she’s worked as a cook for the charity’s lunch club, catering for at least 20 older people every week, as well as providing support and advice for 50 local women weekly at the women’s group in both Arabic and English. During the height of the pandemic, she helped deliver over 18,000 freshly cooked meals and over 2,000 grocery bags to those who needed it most.
The ScottishPower Foundation Awards shine a light on projects that make a lasting and positive impact within communities across the country.
Fatima said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to receive this award and would like to thank the amazing team at LINKES, our partners, funders and of course, the ScottishPower Foundation.
“It’s such a team effort at LINKES and the prize money will be a huge help to support the development of our weekly women’s drop-in advice session as well as boosting the range of community events we run, like next year’s Summer Fun Day, which helps bring everyone together to foster a strong spirit among local people.”
The runner-up in the Charity Champion category was Ian Agnew, who was recognised for his efforts with The Lorna Young Foundation to educate people from disadvantaged backgrounds on ethical business learning while also creating community-led systems to help combat climate change.
The charity projects were judged in five categories this year: Charity Champion, Community Engagement, Education, Innovation and – for 2022 only – the Legacy Award. The special, one-off Legacy Award celebrates the more than £10 million given to charities since the Foundation was set up in 2013.
Following tough competition from across the country, Cumbria-based Bendrigg Trust was chosen as the winner for its work to challenge perceptions of disabled people.
The ScottishPower Foundation funded the charity to help inspire disabled people to believe in themselves and reach their full potential. The funding was crucial in helping the charity survive the Covid-19 pandemic and ensured that disabled people had an accessible facility where they felt a sense of belonging.
Sarah Garman, Business Development Manager at Bendrigg Trust, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to be recognised by the ScottishPower Foundation with this special Legacy Award.
“The ripple effect of our work reaches far beyond Bendrigg and this funding will help to create even more 'ripples' through our volunteering programmes. It also means we can continue to offer everyone a place and a community where they feel included as standard, alongside having an adventure of a lifetime.”
Glasgow-based Playlist for Life won the Community Engagement Award for its work to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their families through the power of personalised playlists. Its ‘Help Point’ project establishes places at the heart of communities where people can access free resources and aims to help the 500,000 people with dementia in the UK who live at home. The points offer a range of resources, tools and training which can be adapted as needed to empower families and are found in places like libraries and community centres.
Michelle Armstrong Surgenor, Executive Director at Playlist for Life, said: “We share this accolade with the hundreds of community Help Points around the country who support people with dementia through the power of personally meaningful music.
“This can provide a lifeline, helping families, carers and healthcare professionals to connect through the soundtrack of a person’s life. Thanks to the ScottishPower Foundation’s funding and this award, we’ll be able to reach even more families affected by dementia.”
The runner-up in this category was Edinburgh Science Foundation for its ‘Consumed? Not Costing the Earth’ event. The interactive exhibition explored the impact unsustainable consumerism has on the planet, helping to highlight how we interact with everyday items and how daily choices can impact wider society and the environment.
Deafblind UK took home the Education Award for its inspiring work to ensure all children are given an equal chance to learn and enjoy a meaningful education at a level that suits them. Its project aims to challenge perceptions and give every child the best start in life, both academically and socially.
Steve Conway, CEO of Deafblind UK, said: “It’s an honour to be recognised by the ScottishPower Foundation for our education work.
“We truly believe that every single child should have an equal chance to learn and have a meaningful education, despite their sight and hearing loss. Thanks to this award win, we’ll be able to support even more students and their parents to get the education they deserve.”
Runner-up in the Education category was The Lorna Young Foundation for its ‘Not Just Us’ project, which provided an educational approach for ethical business practices to help tackle global poverty through community-based programmes using reading, workshops and quizzes.
Keep Britain Tidy was recognised with the Innovation Award for its Ocean Recovery Project, which aims to provide a viable, long-term solution to the problem of fishing gear discarded in the oceans. These ‘ghost’ materials include redundant fishing nets, rope and plastics that disrupt the marine environment.
The project seeks to resolve the issue by recycling the marine plastics when they’re recovered to create useful containers and even components of staging and other hardware equipment.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive at Keep Britain Tidy, said: “We’re so grateful to the ScottishPower Foundation, which has enabled us to educate school pupils about plastic recycling to help keep our beaches clean.
“The funding has enabled us to get to the beach and physically remove plastics as well as empowering volunteers by showing them that the litter they will collect will be put to great use in products for schools.”
Runner-up in the Innovation Award category was Cheshire Wildlife Trust for its #TeamWilder project, which empowers people to take meaningful actions to help nature recover. The project matches up individual Wildlife Trusts to help them work together more closely to improve organisation and implementation of projects across communities.
Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “Huge congratulations to all our winners and runners-up at this year’s ScottishPower Foundation Awards, which were a great opportunity to showcase the legacy and positive impact of the work we do. It was especially exciting to mark that through our Legacy Award and huge congratulations to the Bendrigg Trust.
“The £10 million we have given to charities over the last nine years has funded vital and inspiring projects that really do make a difference and it’s a privilege to be able to pay that back through the Awards and the additional funding they provide.
“While it’s always so difficult to choose the winners, Fatima’s work for LINKES, Playlist for Life, Deafblind UK, Keep Britain Tidy and our Legacy Award winner Bendrigg Trust stood out for their inspirational projects that really go above and beyond.
“They epitomise everything the ScottishPower Foundation stands for and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they use the prize money to continue their great work and build on their legacy – and ours – for many years to come.”
Further details on the winners and runners-up is available on the ScottishPower Foundation website: www.scottishpowerfoundation.com.
*Knightswood is within the lowest 5% of deprived communities in Scotland – statistics from 2020 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation