The Community Awards

The Community Awards celebrate the local charities, organisations, groups, individuals and businesses who work tirelessly to raise money and embark on community projects for the benefit of others, across the Bailiwick and further afield.

Charity of the Year

Sponsored by Ravenscroft

Winner

The Guernsey Welfare Service

Although the Guernsey Welfare Service provides a range of services, it is perhaps best known for its foodbank, which every year supplies local households with around £75,000 worth of groceries and produce – all of it donated by individuals and supermarkets.

During lockdown, the foodbank continued to operate thanks to the help of volunteers. When restrictions were lifted, the Guernsey Welfare Service ran a back-to-school Packed Lunch Project which saw two thousand lunches delivered to hundreds of households.  

The Guernsey Welfare Service also organises life skills courses and support groups to help address the effects of loneliness, insecure housing, relative poverty, a lack of essential skills and challenging family dynamics.

“We hope that we can play a small part, alongside other agencies, in working towards the common good and community cohesion,” said a spokesperson for the charity. “We provide a constant in what can be a chaotic world for the families we work with.”

The Judges were impressed by the number of people helped by the Guernsey Welfare Service, who carry out much of their work away from the spotlight. The Service had come into its own during lockdown, when it was able – despite logistical and financial challenges – to keep its all-important foodbank running throughout.

Shortlisted

Autism Guernsey

Autism Guernsey is dedicated to enriching the lives of people with autism and their families by ensuring that they can lead full, positive and inclusive lives. They do this by providing high quality, professional services and support, including clubs, training and community initiatives.

Staff and volunteers work hard to make sure clients can access to experiences that may otherwise be inaccessible to them, such as the autism-friendly Winter Wonderland evening and ice-skating sessions, as well as the Co-Op’s ‘Quiet Hour.’

Autism Guernsey provides a host of training programmes aimed at helping people develop a better understanding of the lives lived by people with autism.

For example, the ‘Earlybird Teenlife’ programme, which explains how autism is experienced by teenagers, has been praised by several parents who said that it helped them better understand their ASD children.

The judges commended the breadth and quality of the services on offer through Autism Guernsey, an organisation that was highly praised by many clients and their families. A constant theme was how Autism Guernsey staff and volunteers had been there for them, providing a smart, professional and empathetic support network. Innovative, bold and adaptable, the charity continues to go from strength to strength.

Bright Beginnings

Bright Beginnings Children’s Centre has a clear aim: to help every parent and carer give their child the best possible start in life.

Founded in 2016, it offers a combination of free and paid-for services as part of the local charity Every Child Our Future and is the only children’s centre on the island.

Each week, up to a hundred families attend the Centre for a variety of formal and informal groups and one-to-one sessions.

Parents who attend Bright Beginnings describe the staff as, “helpful, knowledgeable and supportive” and the Centre as a “safe place” that helps them “through tough times”.

There is a constant emphasis on maintaining a quality service for families. As a long-serving staff member says: “There is nothing more satisfying than the buzz of families enjoying their time together in the Centre and the staff team has a real sense of pride in all they do together.”

The judges were impressed by how much Bright Beginnings had achieved in a relatively short space of time. They recognised the profound impact that the Centre has on the lives of everyone who visits, from babies to adults. Hardworking staff provide a range of essential services, the benefits of which will be felt by households across the Island for decades to come.

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award

Sponsored by PwC

Winner

Robert Platts MBE

Rob is devoted to ensuring that Islanders with disabilities can enjoy fundamental freedoms, and that their human rights are fully protected.

In 2008, as Chair of the Guernsey MS Society, Rob helped found the Guernsey Disability Alliance. The GDA is now a high-profile umbrella organisation that brings together disability organisations of all stripes, as well as individuals with disabilities and carers. Thanks to Rob, Guernsey has an influential campaigning group that works closely with the States to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Rob remains resolutely focused on changing attitudes towards disability and to removing any and all barriers to equality of opportunity. He contributed significantly to the development of Guernsey’s first Disability & Inclusion Strategy, and to the development of legislation designed to ensure that all islanders affected by disability are more included in society and better able to achieve their potential.

Rob’s nominator says: “Rob brings commitment to any role he takes on. His tenacity throughout the ups and downs of government prioritisation has been unwavering. The fact that legislation is coming is to a great extent down to him.”

The judges were quick to recognise the enormous contribution that Rob has made to the equality landscape over the years, thanks to his tenacity, his eloquence and his expertise. An outspoken and tireless campaigner, he has been at the heart of every positive development in the often exhausting world of disability rights for over a decade, and the Island is a better place for it.

Shortlisted

Nick Paluch

Nick remains the youngest person to assume the role of Bailiwick Commissioner of the Scout Association. Under Nick’s leadership, the Scout Association’s varied, high-quality scouting programme has led to ever-greater engagement with younger people, helping local scouting go from strength to strength.

During his five-year tenure he has helped the organisation grow its membership year on year, and has built on changes made to its internal structure to make it both resilient and adaptable to future changes. He has spearheaded media campaigns to promote volunteering and overhauled the organisation’s digital strategy in a way that’s carried the charity fully into the modern age.

His involvement in the Scouts spans more than a decade, showing others that it’s possible – if not always easy – to volunteer, raise a young family, and hold down a full-time job. His positive impact on the lives of young people is described by one nominator as “immeasurable”.

The judges felt that Nick had done a huge amount to secure the future of local scouting. His passion, commitment and positive outlook had clearly changed the lives of many children, and his contribution to the third sector was significant. A farsighted moderniser with an impressive work ethic, he had made and continues to make sacrifices for the good of the Island.

Ellie Jones

Ellie Jones, Chief Executive of Liberate, member of Equality Guernsey and director of Guernsey Pride, has been nominated for the positive difference she has made to the lives of so many people in the Bailiwick.

Ellie is known for championing equal rights for all, and for challenging harmful attitudes using reasoned discussion, empathy and evidence. She specifically draws attention to the ongoing struggle, local and global, faced by LGBTQ people.

Ellie is described by her nominators as “determined and passionate” and as a “pillar” of the Equality Guernsey.

As part of her work for the Youth Commission, she delivers LGBTQ awareness lessons at Guernsey’s secondary schools and helps run numerous support groups.

The Youth Commission said, “Ellie’s approach with young people is engaging and supportive. She adapts her practice to meet the needs of the Island’s young people and is a constant presence across the community, campaigning on equality issues to improve the lives of Islanders.”

As one of her nominators put it: “The world really is a better place because she is here.”

The judges were struck by how Ellie had made demonstrably positive impact on the lives of so many. Often called upon to act as a spokesperson and ambassador for the entire LGBTQ community, the judges were impressed by Ellie’s professionalism and her compassion, and were moved by accounts of her going out of her way to help others all year round, at any time of the day or night. 

Corporate Social Responsibility Award

Sponsored by Credit Suisse

Winner

The Channel Islands Co-operative Society

The Channel Islands Co-operative Society describes itself as “a community retailer with a difference.”

As well as promoting Fairtrade goods and plastic-free packaging, it forges links with vital community initiatives such as the Ron Short grocery bus service, which delivers food to isolated households over the winter. It also encourages cooperative working between businesses and the third sector by working with the likes of Olio, the Guernsey Welfare Service and ESI Monitor.

In recent years the Co-op has focused on supporting shoppers with different disabilities by providing mobile scooters, on-shelf magnifiers, hearing loops, and a special trolley for children with additional needs. It was the first local business to launch ‘autism hour’, giving people with autism exclusive access to a quiet, low-stimulus shopping environment.

As the Co-op says: “Our vision is to make a real difference to the community we serve.”

The judges were struck by how seriously the Co-Op took its corporate social responsibility, weaving it into the fabric of the company itself. But this not about a few lines in a vision document: the Co-Op’s CSR policy took the form of a dozen distinct, practical schemes and initiatives that had a direct impact on Islanders young and old.

Shortlisted

Sure Community Foundation

For nearly 10 years the Sure Community Foundation has supported charities both financially and in relation to their telecommunications needs.

Funded by employee contributions, donations from business and the proceeds of fundraising events, it has given more than £200,000 to over 60 local charities since 2012.

Throughout lockdown, the Foundation’s focus was ‘keep the Island connected’. They did this by supporting a variety of local causes, including the Stay Connected initiative organised by We All Matter, Eh?, which saw the Foundation provide WiFi routers and data to care homes and isolated individuals so they could stay in touch with friends and family.

The Foundation also provided data and WiFi routers to students so they could continue their studies and in touch with their teachers and classmates.

Summarising their CSR activities, Sure said: “We’re extremely proud that our employees value working for a community-focused company and engage in our CSR programmes with enthusiasm, generosity and the desire to have a meaningful impact.”

Judges noted Sure’s unwavering commitment to CSR, and were particularly impressed by the way in which a dedicated Foundation was used to direct money to specific worthy causes. Also deserving of of praise was the extent to which Sure’s employees supported the Foundation financially, and assisted with the good work being carried out in the name of the organisation.

Skipton International

The jewel in Skipton’s CSR crown is arguably the famous Swimarathon, which has made a huge difference to the lives of Islanders in the ten years since the organisation took it over.

In 2019, the Swimarathon set a new fundraising record of £60,000… which it promptly broke a year later, when an army of swimmers raised £65,000 for the Guernsey Alzheimers Association and other charities.

But there’s more to Skipton’s CSR than swimming. The launch in 2018 of the Skipton Community Fund saw the organisation establish new ways of giving money to projects and events across the Channel Islands. An overwhelming success in terms of the number of good causes it supports, Skipton says the Fund also allows members of staff to learn more about local charities and volunteer their time.

The Skipton Community Fund’s focus is on assisting smaller and less well-known charitable endeavours – an approach that has enabled lesser known not-for-profits to deliver services that would otherwise not be available.  

The judges were impressed by the scale and the impact of the Swimarathon, which under Skipton’s watch has become a justly celebrated staple of the third sector calendar. While the annual event might have been enough for some businesses, Skipton went to extra lengths to make a difference: their relatively new Community Fund is already making considerable waves in the third sector.

Fundraising Team of the Year Award

Sponsored by CBO Projects

Winner

Stellar Events

Organisers Nadia Newton and Claire Wakefield began their fundraising journey with 2016’s Night Circus ball, which raised £15,000 for lymphoma research. 2017’s Prohibition Ball raised £16,000 for cancer charities, while the following year’s Dia de los Muertos event sold out in 90 seconds and raised £25,000 for Autism Guernsey.

To cope with demand, this year’s Snowfall event – with its themes of Swan Lake and Narnia – was held over two nights just before lockdown. The £40,000 raised – a new record – was split between Bright Tights, the Ivy Trust, Stop Male Suicide and Autism Guernsey.

With these events, Nadia and Claire’s aim to present an evening of fun and entertainment whilst raising as much money as possible for local charities.

Says their nominator: “It's difficult to explain the ‘wow’ factor of these events. The effort that Nadia and Claire put into these evenings truly brings out the guests' generosity in giving to the charities they support.”

The judges were impressed not only by the creativity and complexity of these highly-regarded events, but by the way in which they had grown in scale and ambition with each passing year. The speed at which the tickets sell out, along with the increasing amounts of money raised for charity, suggest that Stellar Events’ annual extravaganza is a local phenomenon in the making. 

Shortlisted

Harry Smith and Friends – Mullets

With their ongoing Mullets campaign, Harry Smith and his friends are increasing awareness of mental health and raising money for Guernsey Mind. Harry, Theo and Will were inspired to take action following the loss of a friend to suicide in 2019.

By growing mullets, Harry and his friends drew attention to themselves -- and used that attention as a lead into a larger conversation across the Island about the issue of young suicide.

Harry and friends used social media, print media and the radio to spread their message. Their innovative campaign struck a chord with Islanders – so much so that they continue to revise their initial fundraising target upwards.  
 
As their nominator put it, their fundraising efforts “reached out to young people in a way that few campaigns do. I’ve seen a lot more mullets since the beginning of the campaign, proving it to have been successful beyond initial expectations.”

A fresh campaign that exceeded organisers’ expectations and is still generating press attention several months on, the judges were struck by the clever, imaginative way in which Harry and his friends had used a light-hearted, eye-catching stunt to encourage a serious discussion about – and raise funds in relation to – a deeply serious issue.

Zoe Collins Walk5Donate5

Zoe began planning the Walk5Donate5 fundraising campaign after she visited Les Bourgs hospice. The 17-year-old was so impressed and so moved by the caring, supportive atmosphere and the hardworking staff, that she decided to act. Using social media and other networks, she invited people to pay £5 to take part in a five-mile coastal walk. She was surprised and delighted when over 400 signed up and the event raised nearly £8,000.

The event came at a time when, thanks to covid, the charity had lost income streams due to shop closures and and the cancellation of their big summer fundraisers.

Nominating Zoe, Les Bourgs said: “Events like this have really helped our charity. We are very grateful to Zoe for the time and effort that she has put into fundraising for Les Bourgs Hospice.”

The judges were impressed by Zoe’s determination to make a difference. Despite her young age, she had taken matters into her own hands and, off her own back, created a new event, with a new fundraising hook, which she had marketed simply and effectively. The wide cross-section of the community that took part, and the substantial amounts raised, is a testament to her ability and her initiative.

Organising Committee of the Year Award

Sponsored by Julius Baer

Winner

Channel Islands Pride Committee 2020 – Liberate

Organised by Liberate, Guernsey Pride raises awareness of LGBTQ rights and celebrates the local LGBTQ community. This year, Guernsey was the only place in Europe to hold Pride. An estimated 7,000 people took part in the celebrations.

Liberate’s Ellie Jones chaired a 12-strong organising committee that worked closely with States departments, businesses and local agencies such as Visit Guernsey. Despite limitations imposed by covid, the committee managed to bring UK performers to the Island, all of whom were happy to self-isolate in order to take part.

The committee organised a range of ‘pre-Pride’ events. They liaised with St Peter Port Town Church to illuminate the Church tower in rainbows colours; flew LGBTQ flags from the roundabout mast; painted the market square steps in rainbow paint; and arranged a rainbow flower-bed with the help of States Works.

As their nominator put it: “Pride celebrates our community at its best, affirming our common humanity whilst honouring our differences.”

The judges were struck by how many Islanders took part in the Pride celebrations, and by the vast number of affiliated events that took place in the lead up to the main event, each one also overseen by the organising committee. The Pride parade itself was logistically impressive, especially given that it involved entertainment from overseas, and was recognised as a huge success.

Shortlisted

Stay Connected -- We All Matter Eh?

During lockdown, the Guernsey Disability Alliance’s partner charity ‘We All Matter Eh?’ launched the #StayConnected initiative, aimed at helping isolated Islanders keep in touch with friends and family through the provision of iPads and wifi.

The organisers behind Stay Connected recognised that isolation would have a negative effect on Islanders’ wellbeing. They worked hard to obtain equipment and set up wifi to ensure that at risk groups could stay in touch with family and friends. Eventually, this offer was extended to people in residential homes and the PEH, which by this point had been closed to visitors.
 
The committee partnered with several businesses, including Resolution IT, Swoffers, Deloitte and Sure. Thousands of pounds were raised to meet project costs and a total of 85 wifi-enabled devices were distributed.

“This project touched the hearts of the community and showed the support and commitment of volunteers,” said the project nominator. “People rallied together to ensure isolation was reduced and people felt more connected.”

The judges singled out Stay Connected as a shining example not only of partnership working – with charities and businesses working hand in hand – but of the third sector proving itself to be flexible, innovative and quick-thinking. The Stay Connected initiative showed that with a decisive but compassionate organising committee, multiple parties can cooperate for the good of the Island under stressful and intense circumstances.

 

Rotary Guernesiais

Rotary Guernesiais is a service club that undertakes a number of projects designed to help the community. The best known is arguably their annual Christmas shoebox appeal.

Every year, Rotary Guernesiais, led by Head of Service Hannah Laidlow, asks Islanders to wrap a shoebox and fill it with school materials, toys, soap and clothes for children in need. Every box is reviewed by the Rotary sorting team to make sure that the contents are all on the approved list. On shipping day, the fire brigade helps fill containers with Christmas parcels for onward distribution to children in schools and orphanages across Eastern Europe.

According to one nominator: “The annual shoebox appeal is a massive success partly because of the amazing organisational skills of Hannah Laidlow and the Service Team, but mainly because of the huge amount of community involvement, with schools, church groups, businesses and individuals all participating.”

The judges were struck by how this seasoned organising team made a complex, Island-wide operation look easy. A well-loved annual event which generates a huge amount of goodwill and often serves to introduce the Island’s schoolchildren to charitable giving, the Shoebox Appeal is a valuable and valued tradition that would not be successful without committed, highly organised people behind the scenes.

Innovation Award

Sponsored by Resolution IT

Winner

Autism Guernsey – Autism Passport

In 2019, the Bailiwick Law Enforcement and Autism Guernsey agreed to co-produce a Police Autism Passport Scheme in response to a pressing but underreported problem – namely, that for individuals with autism, giving a statement or reporting a crime can be hugely stressful.

Under the Passport Scheme, people with autism can volunteer to provide Police with a “passport” containing information on their communication preferences. If they subsequently come into contact with the Police, officers can support them more effectively and sensitively.

“Collaboration between BLE and Autism Guernsey offers a way of improving the quality and efficiency of service provision,” according to Autism Guernsey’s nominator. “Working together, both organisations found innovative solutions to enable them to continue to provide vital services that meet the needs of the whole community, and especially those impacted by autism.”

The judges considered the Police Autism Passport Scheme to be a fine example of partnership working, with two unconnected agencies pooling ideas and resources to tackle, very effectively, a problem that disproportionately affects a certain group of people. The solution to the problem was itself clever, simple and smoothly executed.

Shortlisted

Stay Connected -- We All Matter Eh?

During lockdown, We All Matter Eh?, a charity focused on raising awareness of disability, worked with the Association of Guernsey Charities to launch the #StayConnected initiative.

The initiative was aimed at helping isolated Islanders keep in touch with friends and family by giving them the use of tablets, iPads and wifi. Organisers worked hard to obtain equipment and set up wifi. Eventually, help was extended to people in residential homes and the PEH, which by this point had been closed to visitors.

The committee partnered with several businesses and charities, including Sure Community Foundation, Swoffers, Resolution IT, Saffery Champness, Deloitte and Home Start. Thousands of pounds were raised to meet project costs, and in total 200 devices and 85 wifi stations were distributed.

“This project touched the hearts of the community and showed the support and commitment of volunteers,” said the one nominator. “People rallied together to ensure isolation was reduced and people felt more connected.”

The judges were impressed by the spontaneity of the project, which had sprung up in response to pressing and unprecedented circumstances. An energetic, quick-thinking team mobilised business, raised funds, and, within weeks, had made a material difference to older Islanders, showcasing the third sector’s ability to band together and get things done.

Les Cotils - Food for Families

Les Cotils is a registered charity with a clear purpose: investing in the community. During lockdown, the charity was contacted by the Bank of Butterfield, who wanted to know how they could help individuals cope with the effects of the pandemic.

The Food for Families Project was the result. For two months, Les Cotils prepared and delivered meals four times a week to over a hundred local families, plus Police and ambulance crews. They also made the afternoon supper for a local residential home and lent one of their chefs to a second home. They even allowed part of their premises to be used as a 24-hour crew room for St John.

As their nominator says: “Les Cotils showed an innovative, creative approach to using their resources to support Guernsey throughout lockdown. Families who received food during lockdown, especially those who were home-schooling, say they don’t know what they would have done without their help.”

The judges were surprised and impressed by just how much Les Cotils had done to support Islanders during the pandemic. Singled out for particular praise was the Food for Families Project, which made a direct, appreciable and in some cases vital difference to more than a hundred families. Les Cotils used their premises and their hardworking staff to incredible effect.

Youth Award

Sponsored by RBC

Winner

Jack Ceillam

Jack has been nominated for helping to establish the Youth Voice Project, which supports children living in, and eventually leaving, States care.

Jack’s involvement is considered essential to the success of the Project; without him, the Youth Commission would not have been able to engage as quickly and as easily with Looked After Children.

During his time with the Youth Commission, Jack has participated in special training and spoken at high profile events aimed at improving the lives of young people. He has worked with politicians, engaged with Looked After Children in care settings, and won the trust of children who may be reluctant to engage with the States or the Youth Commission.

The judges praised Jack’s ability to connect with some of the island’s hardest-to-reach young people. His skill for engaging empathetically with Looked After Children was highly commended, as was his    fervent desire to use his life experiences to help others. His passion, commitment and compassion shone through.

Shortlisted

Young Carers Group

The Young Carers Group originally consisted of four people, aged nine to 18, who helped the Youth Commission connect with people like them: children and young people living with an adult who requires special support.

The Group came up with an action plan that saw them design special leaflets and ‘feelings cards’, write a story, issue press releases, and use art to explain the life of a young carer.

Now nearly a dozen members strong, the Group have started promoting the Young Carers Service by helping design lesson plans to take into schools.

Throughout all of this, the members of the Group have continued to act as carers to adults in their households. In the words of one nominator, “the qualities that these young people offer is their caring role, and their determination to get on with life and to support each other.”

The judges found it remarkable that young people who were already doing so much to support their families were able to give something to the wider community. Finding strength in their shared experiences and giving each other mutual support, the members of the Young Carers Group are a credit to the Island.

Joshua Anderson

Joshua has been nominated by Autism Guernsey for helping make their Amazing Club a success.  They say: “When Joshua first started attending the club he found certain aspects – such as the social interaction and the sensory impacts – quite challenging.”
 
Joshua has played a key part in raising awareness of autism: he’s taken part in radio interviews, attended the charities fayre at Government House, and participated in various fundraising activities – including a chocolate tombola event that he organised, managed, promoted and ran himself.

He has encouraged other people being supported by Autism Guernsey to take part in activities, and has supported other club members in a friendly, selfless manner.

“It is difficult to put into words,” says Autism Guernsey. “How much this kind and caring person has developed his sense of identity, self-worth and self-esteem during his time with the charity.”

The judges were impressed by the fact that Joshua had overcome personal challenges to help the people around him. They noted the incredible impact he had had on Autism Guernsey, and his ability to inspire affection and respect in the many people who worked alongside him.

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