Disability North has had the impact of its current services and future ambitions recognized with its selection as a 2021 Weston Charity Awards winner. The award gives us the chance to invest in our future with a core grant of £6,500 from the Garfield Weston Foundation and ten months of strategic planning support from a team of four business and charity leaders, thanks to the leadership charity Pilotlight. We were chosen from 150 applicants, all of whom are frontline charities delivering youth, welfare, or community services in the North of England, the Midlands, and Wales.
Our CEO Dr. Victoria Armstrong said:
“We’re exploring options to develop independent living apartments along with a new contemporary hub to host our activities that will further promote the welfare of disabled people in our region. We will benefit tremendously from external input as we embark on this business transformation.”
In congratulating Disability North, Philippa Charles, director of the Garfield Weston Foundation said: “As the pandemic shifts, we are seeing an altered landscape for charities. Our selected charities have shown courage and resilience this year in delivering vital services in the face of uncertainty and growing need. This year, more than ever, the Foundation is helping charities shift gear by providing dedicated support for long-term planning.”
Ed Mayo, chief executive of Pilotlight, the charity which is connecting Disability North with a team of coaches drawn from a range of businesses and other organizations said: “Disability North has been selected as a Weston Charity Award recipient on the strength of its ambitions and the openness of the leadership team to external perspectives. When we asked small charity leaders in the midst of a pandemic what help they needed from local people and business, two-thirds said they were actively seeking skilled pro bono support. Pilotlight’s skilled volunteers have a proud record of helping Weston Charity Award winners to adapt services, diversify income and thrive into the future.”
Disability North will be the first group of Weston Charity Award winners to embark upon a virtual-led model that includes a series of virtual coaching sessions over ten months with a hand-picked team of senior business and charity leaders along with some face-to-face meetings. Pilotlight’s experience of moving online during the pandemic showed benefits including a reduced call on charity leaders’ time. Pilotlight also hopes the virtual model will attract a bigger and more diverse group of business leaders to join as skilled volunteer coaches.