The winners of the Charity Bank Impact Awards 2017 were announced last Wednesday at a ceremony at Coin Street Conference Centre in London.
The awards, now in their fifth year, were open to current Charity
Bank borrowers with the winner selected by a panel of judges. There were
two categories: the
Change Maker Award, to recognise exceptional individuals who are the driving force behind an organisation with great impact, and the Young Achiever Award
to recognise the success of young people and in particular those who
have overcome barriers to transform their lives and are now giving back
Despite the heat (the mercury hit 34 degrees in central London!), we were thrilled to see so many guests from our community of borrowers, savers, staff, directors and social sector supporters.
Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive of Charity Bank, opened the proceedings by thanking the Coin Street Community Builders for allowing us to use its conference centre. Coin Street Community Builders is a social enterprise established by local residents in 1984 following a campaign against large-scale office proposals. The social housing surrounding the conference centre is part of its work to transform a largely derelict 13-acre site into a thriving neighbourhood.
Cliff Prior, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, our keynote speaker, highlighted how charities and social enterprises are dealing with some of the most challenging issues in the UK, including employment, health and social care, housing, financial inclusion and conservation. Cliff also spoke about how the value of social investment being channelled into the social sector has more than doubled since 2011, allowing organisations to make a bigger impact each year, showing just how vital a role the social sector plays in today's society.
Following Cliff's keynote speech, Patrick Crawford announced the winners of this year's Impact Awards:
Change Maker Award
Sandra Schembri, CEO of The House of St Barnabas, was named Change Maker of the Year for her leading role in the creation of an employment academy offering training, work experience and real job opportunities to people who have been affected by homelessness. Uniquely, the academy is integrated into a not-for-profit members' club in the heart of Soho, London.
Accepting the award from George Blunden, Charity Bank's Chairman, Sandra said: “I am so very proud of this award, which has been possible by the magic of “We”. Working with our participants, our team and with the support of Charity Bank we are working towards our vision of breaking the cycle of homelessness through employment.”
[Image left: George Blunden, Chairman of Charity Bank is pictured with Sandra as she accepted her award].
David Evans, Chair of The House of St Barnabas, said: “Sandra’s contribution to both the club and our employment academy has been massive. The biggest testament to this is that 70% of employment academy graduates have moved into employment and 81% of them are still employed.
“Sandra has led a new chapter of The House of St Barnabas with warmth and determination. Her entrepreneurial spirit and vision has had a profound effect on both the London homelessness sector and the London members’ club scene. She has shown that it is possible to do good whilst enjoying yourself.”
The film below was played, created to tell the story of how Sandra became involved with The House of St Barnabas, and the resulting transformation that has taken place in the organisation.
Young Achiever Award
Shannon Boles, Retail & Enterprise Apprentice at Valley CIDS was named Young Achiever of the Year for her inspirational transition during her time at Valley CIDS. Ian Tannahill of Valley CIDS accepted the award on behalf of Shannon, who was not able to attend on the night. Ian spoke about Shannon's journey with the organisation so far, from joining the charity's Blend Youth Project at 16 years old, to enrolling on their Retail & Enterprise Traineeship programme, becoming a key member of the team and inspiring others with her positive work ethic and natural talent.
In the award application, Shannon said "the staff at Blend gave me warmth and a shoulder to cry on. I knew I was in safe hands and completely accepted as I was."
Suzanne Fieldsend, Youth Enterprise Coordinator, explained: "Being at the Enterprise Unit gave Shannon the aspiration, creative space and nurturing work environment that she needed, the skills, knowledge and experience required to enter the world of work."
"Shannon has contributed to new design approaches to how we finish our pieces of upcycled furniture. Her positive work ethic and natural talent has also meant that we have been able to increase productivity of upcycled, shabby chic furniture at the Enterprise Unit, therefore resulting in increased sales and revenue to reinvest in the wider project and continued support of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people.
To conclude in Shannon's own words, she says:
"I understand what Valley CIDS does as an organisation and I would like to contribute to what Valley CIDS represents. I have been going to Blend Youth Project for over two years now and without it I would not be the person that I am today. Through working at the Enterprise Unit, I would like to help make more money for Valley CIDS so that other young people can have the same opportunities and experiences that I have had.”
[Image above: Ian Tannahill accepts the Young Achiever of the Year Award on Shannon's behalf. Pictured with Charity Bank's Chairman George Blunden.]