Seven UK-based charities have been named as winners and runners-up of this year’s ScottishPower Foundation Awards, splitting a £30,000 prize fund between them.
The Awards celebrate benevolent work in local communities throughout the UK, with organisations judged in four categories: the Innovation Award, the Education Award, the Community Engagement Award and the Charity Champion Award, which gives special recognition to the outstanding contribution made by an exceptional employee or volunteer who exemplifies what their organisation stands for.
Winners in each category receive an additional £5,000 funding boost, with runners-up receiving £2,500.
Acorns Project took home the top prize in the Innovation Award category for its expansion into Northumberland to deliver play therapy to children affected by domestic abuse and violence, made possible by creative partnerships with schools and children’s centres.
Acorns’ Julia Parkinson, Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Recovery Team Co-ordinator, Northumberland, said: “We are delighted to have won this award, which will enable us to help even more children who have experienced domestic abuse in Northumberland. We are hugely grateful to the Scottish Power Foundation for the support and recognition of the vital work we do. The award is a testament to the dedication of our team and to the courageous young people we work with.”
The runner-up prize was awarded to Whizz-Kidz for its remote assessment and delivery service to ensure disabled children received tailor-made mobility equipment to help improve their quality of life despite the challenges of COVID-19. Ella Joy, Trust Fundraiser at Whizz-Kidz, said: “The prize funding will provide adapted trikes for five children through our innovative remote mobility assessment and build service that provides tailor-made and life-changing mobility equipment right to the child’s door.”
The Education Award was won by Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland for its work to help children with spina bifida be fully included in education and enjoy a positive learning experience.
Deborah Roe, Director of Fundraising at Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland, said: “The ScottishPower Foundation has generously supported our education work since 2017 and we were delighted to be one of only three education projects in the UK to be funded in 2020. Spina bifida and hydrocephalus are low-incidence conditions; to have the support of the Foundation and the opportunity to highlight our projects and services to a much wider audience means so much. We are grateful to everyone at the Foundation for recognising our work with young people & schools with the education award. The past few months have been a tough time for everyone but this is wonderful news. Thank you!”
The runner-up was Bangor University (Reaching Wider and North Wales Partnership) for its efforts to increase higher education participation from previously under-represented groups, through creative and innovative learning.
Lorraine Westwood, Chair of the Reaching Wider Partnership, said: “This is very worthy recognition of a project which put the learners, young people whose lives were totally disrupted by Covid-19, and their educational needs at the heart of a creative solution. The idea of the packs was itself noteworthy, but it is the attention to detail, in thinking through the barriers individual learners might have in being able to use the packs, which make this such an outstanding project.”
South Tyneside Churches KEY Project was awarded the Community Engagement Award for its work to prevent youth homelessness and support people in hardship.
Ross Allen, Executive Lead at KEY Project, said: “This has been a year like no other; during the pandemic we have seen a huge increase in demand for all our services. While we have had to creatively reimagine how our projects are delivered, our commitment to supporting the most vulnerable within our community has remained unchanged. We are delighted to win this national award which recognises the tireless efforts of our staff, volunteers, and all our supporters.
“We intend to use the prize fund to provide a range of mental health wellbeing activities for all the young people and families we support. Good mental health is essential to our overall mission, which is to help those facing homelessness or hardship achieve their full potential, contribute to their community, and lead happy, successful lives.”
Runner-up in the same category was Starcatchers Productions for its support of families most negatively impacted by the pandemic and more likely to experience greater levels of isolation. Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, said: “Creative Kin brings together artists with kinship families caring for young children. The project creates joyful, colourful and nurturing experiences through art and family play. It provides space where the families can be creative together, allowing them to build stronger and more resilient family relationships.
“As a result of the pandemic our community engagement is delivered outdoors and we're delighted that this prize money will be put towards purchasing Covid-19 safety equipment and materials so that families and artists can make the most of arts activities outside during the winter.”
This year’s Charity Champion is Donna Mackey from The Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland for her efforts to evolve the service to continue to support isolated elderly citizens at home during the pandemic.
Donna, Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland Partnership Manager, said: “Since the suspension of our community clubs due to COVID-19 we have had to adapt the way we work so that we can continue to support our members, their carers and our volunteers through these really challenging times.
“It's been exciting to be a part of lots of new projects looking at how we adapt our resources to continue the sporting conversation and support older adults be active at home. Now more than ever we need to lead the way and demonstrate to our members how they can move more every day and incorporate different activity into their daily routine whether they are at home or out and about in their local area.
“It's inspiring to see how our members and volunteers have embraced our new approach, grasped new technology and got stuck in with a variety of new exercises. I really hope it makes a difference to those that need it most."
Charity Champion runner-up, Lucy Abbeels, 12, has raised over £6,000 for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland while receiving ongoing support from the charity herself. Lucy said: “I am so happy and excited to have been nominated for this award and pleased to be a finalist.” Her mum, Jeannette Smith, added: “The charity means a lot to us as a family and we have experienced their work and support first-hand and know how vital their work is.”
Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee of the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “Huge congratulations to the winners and runners-up of this year’s ScottishPower Foundation Awards, who are all real beacons of light in these challenging times. We’re so proud of their achievements and pleased to further recognise their tremendous efforts to change lives for the better.
“What’s especially pleasing is the wide range of activities and support services these Awards celebrate - whether keeping older people connected, supporting disabled young people to live full and fulfilling lives, providing key support to children affected by domestic abuse, or taking a whole community approach to addressing homelessness and hardship. However, the one thing they all have in common is the incredible difference they make to the lives of others.
“We’re honoured to recognise all our winners, runners-up and finalists who bring the values of the ScottishPower Foundation Awards to life every day.”
The Awards are open to recipients of this year’s ScottishPower Foundation funding, which saw £1.2m awarded to 21 charities delivering projects across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Due to social distancing restrictions, the winners were announced on ScottishPower’s Twitter channel – @ScottishPower.
This year’s judging panel was made up of a host of experts from ScottishPower, the third sector, education and communications including Arthur McIvor, Senior Client Manager for Energy & Utility Skills; Juliet Simpson, Founder and CEO of Stripe Communications; Sheila Duncan, Human Resources Director for ScottishPower; and Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee of the ScottishPower Foundation.
The ScottishPower Foundation was established in 2013 to make a significant and lasting contribution to society, enhancing the lives of people living in communities throughout the UK. It provides funding to help support the advancement of education, environmental protection, arts and culture and citizenship. It also supports charities who aim to provide relief from poverty, disability, or other disadvantages.
Full information on the winners and runners-up is available at the following link: