The Impact Awards are back. Our Change Maker award recognises people who are the driving force behind an organisation with great impact.
Folkestone Sports Centre was set up by local members of the community, officially opening its doors in 1972. The ethos was, and still is to this day, to provide affordable sports and leisure facilities to everyone in the community. Tessa Stickler was a schoolgirl then, and still remembers taking part in fundraising activities for the sports centre. She used the facilities as a teenager, and since then her children and her grandchildren have gone on to do so as well.
She has now been working there for over 20 years, first working in marketing then as Deputy Manager and eventually General Manager, a post she has held for the past 12 years.
Since Tessa began managing the centre, there has been a period of continuous and impressive growth. In line with the changing needs of the community, she has driven ambitious changes that have expanded on the centre’s original mission with an added emphasis on serving those who suffer from learning or physical disabilities.
The latest phase of long-term renovation plans has seen a lift put in to the three-storey building, a sensory room installed, hoists and sensory lights added to the swimming pool, and the introduction of many inclusive sports and activities. Read more.
Doug began working in deaf rights at the age of 18, setting up his first magazine ‘Argonaut’. This was the beginning of a lifetime’s dedication to fostering a climate of independence and inclusion for deaf people.
He was director and then CEO of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and later chair of the British Deaf Association. He also created another magazine about deaf rights issues called ‘The Voice’, which ran for 3 years. He has been at ELDS since 1984, when he was elected chair of the organisation, and has been its unpaid managing director for almost twenty years.
Throughout his many years and different roles championing and working for deaf rights, Doug has been heavily involved in tackling the barriers faced by deaf people. One particularly monumental achievement was when the organisation he formed in 1997, the Federation of Deaf People, was responsible for influencing the Government to officially recognise British Sign Language (BSL).
At ELDS, Doug has helped address key issues such as education difficulties and low employment rates amongst the deaf community. He has successfully guided the organisation through two recessions and various funding cuts to create sustainability and financial independence through service development and earned income. Read more.
Whilst studying at University, Tim set up a youth club with other volunteers from his church to connect with and support kids from their inner-city area of Bradford. It quickly became apparent that a number of the adolescents were having issues at school and one boy in particular, Lewis, opened Tim’s eyes to the numbers at risk of exclusion.
Stepping in to help Lewis and seeing how receptive both the school and the family were to assistance, Tim realised that there was a desperate need for an organisation to play a role in keeping kids in school and TLG was formed in 1998.
Over the past 20 years, TLG has grown in size and impact and it is Tim’s ambitious vision, entrepreneurial flair and strong leadership that have guided this. The charity has increased from one full-time staff member to 85 nationwide with a purpose-built office space that also acts as a sustainable source of income for the charity through rentals.
It now operates 13 Education Centres across the UK, which work towards the reintegration of adolescents at risk of exclusion and has over 100 Early Intervention programmes which work with younger children to identify and prevent this issue at an early stage. These are all run in partnership with local churches. Read more.
Vanessa has been a dog lover her whole life and has always kept rescue dogs. After hearing a particularly affecting story of an abused and abandoned greyhound in her local area in 2005, Vanessa decided to channel this passion further and began volunteering with local charities.
Through this, she became acutely aware of just how many stray dogs there were in need of help and how many were being unnecessarily put down. In 2005, she founded Hope Rescue in honour of that first greyhound whose racing name was ‘Last Hope’.
Since founding the charity, Vanessa has continued to further its reach, both in the number of animals it helps and in its impact on the wider community. Read more.