This year’s winners of the annual Charity Governance Awards were announced last night (27 May) in a special online ceremony celebrating how the sector has responded to the Covid-19 crisis.
The four winning charities, Green’s Windmill Trust, Muslim Women’s Network, TLC (Talk, Listen, Change), and EdUKaid each win a £5,000 unrestricted grant. The online ceremony also featured guest speaker Ndidi Okezie OBE, CEO of UK Youth, ahead of the announcement of the winners, drawn from a 13-strong shortlist.
Green’s Windmill Trust earned the prize for the best response to the pandemic (the category ‘COVID-19 Response: Embracing Opportunity and Harnessing Risk’). The Trust, which operates Green’s Windmill and Science Centre in Nottingham, was praised for its role supplying the local community with flour during the shortages of the first lockdown in 2020. Over five months when it had to remain closed as a visitor attraction, the fully-restored 19th-century mill fulfilled 830 flour orders – five times the amount it produces in a normal year. One day saw the historic mill ran for an unprecedented 16 hours to take advantage of a good wind. The local community had not been as reliant on the windmill for their flour since the 1800s. (Photo by Jamie Duff Greens Windmill Trust)
Achieving a record hat-trick of Charity Governance Award wins, Muslim Women’s Network UK won the ‘Transforming with Digital’ award. Judges were impressed with how the board’s continued investment in a digital strategy placed the charity in a strong position at the start of the pandemic. This saw MWNUK focus on enhancing its digital services, including virtual workshops, increased use of social media, the MWN Hub and online chat function (an extension of the MWN Helpline).
TLC (Talk, Listen, Change) won the award for ‘Board Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’. The Greater Manchester charity won for its approach to creating a board profile representative of the charity’s service users after deliberately seeking individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds, those under the age of 40, and/or individuals with lived experiences similar to the charity’s beneficiaries. The Board put diversity and inclusion at the heart of its approach, and transformed its own composition to include the diversity of skills and experience it needed.
EdUKaid, a small charity which improves access to and quality of education for children living in the remote Mtwara region of Tanzania, won the ‘Improving Impact in Small Charities’ award. Judges were impressed by how the charity’s trustees identified the importance of pre-primary education and its effect on children’s long-term learning outcomes with it since transforming its support of pre-primary education and investing in processes for evaluating its impact. While ten years ago, EdUKaid sponsorships supported 200 children per annum, today, its community-led education initiatives support more than 10,000 children every year.
Michael Jarvis, who chairs the Awards for the organisers The Clothworkers’ Company, said:
“Many congratulations to the winners – and to all the nominees for making it onto the shortlist – each one of them has shown ingenuity and determination during one of the most difficult periods we’ve known.
“All charities have experienced once-in-a-lifetime challenges during the Covid pandemic – these winners, and nominees, show us all what is possible and how creative thinking, innovative programmes and committed investment can help the sector continue to deliver for its beneficiaries. I urge all charities to read about these inspiring boards on our website – sharing ideas and best practice can help raise the bar for excellence across the sector.”
Main image: by Jamie Duff Greens Windmill Trust