Grant Applications Now Open for ‘Weston Charity Awards 2023’

Applications for the Weston Charity Awards 2023 are officially open thanks to a collaboration between The Garfield Weston Foundation and charity partner, Pilotlight.

Now in its ninth year, the Awards offer a unique package of support worth over £22,000 to small charities in the North of England, the Midlands, and Wales. The Awards nurture leadership talent while amplifying a charity’s potential impact.

This help for charities is more vital than ever as the cost-of-living crisis escalates. Charities offering community and welfare services are seeing user numbers rocket while donations continue to decline with the threat of recession looming.

Through the Weston Charity Awards, unrestricted grants of £6,500 are available for up to 22 ambitious charities. The cash contributions are available to instigate strategic change and accelerate innovative growth despite current challenges. Winning applicants also gain free access to the Pilotlight 360 programme – a ten-month package of leadership coaching worth an estimated £16,000.

The call for applications is open to registered charities working with beneficiaries in the North of England, the Midlands, and Wales and which specialise in the fields of Community, Welfare, Youth, and, for the first time, Environment (in recognition of the growing pressures on conservation and environmental charities). Charities with at least one paid full-time member of staff in a leadership position and an income of less than £5 million per year are eligible to apply.

Feedback shows that two years after receiving Pilotlight support, charities on average increase their reach by 30%, income by 44%, and leadership skills in 94% of participants. Philippa Charles, Director of The Garfield Weston Foundation, said:

“As the cost-of-living crisis hits families and communities hard, we see a critical role for small charities in key regions who are supporting vulnerable people. Now more than ever, charities are seeking support to ensure a robust strategic future. The Awards can be critical in helping a charity grow their services for people in real need.”

Alongside grants, award winners receive an unrivalled package of leadership mentoring from four senior professionals across diverse private and public sector organisations. These empathetic “Pilotlighters” offer in-depth expert coaching on everything from creative operational efficiencies to sustainable long-term business strategies that take an organisation to the next level. Winning charities also access:

  • collaborative opportunities and events through Pilotlight’s network of UK charities.
  • two peer-to-peer support sessions with other award winners to share best practice.
  • a celebratory event for all award winners on conclusion of the programme.
  • the enhanced profile associated with receiving this award grant for excellence.

Pilotlight CEO, Ed Mayo, added:
“In tough times, there is little more inspiring than the hopeful, practical and compassionate action of frontline charities, working right across the UK. It has been our privilege to support these charities through the Weston Charity Awards and I am grateful to all the business experts who have taken part in teams to make this possible – and to Garfield Weston Foundation as core sponsors of the Awards.”

Last year’s Weston Charity Award winners provided critical services to over 51,000 people. The charities worked across a variety of areas including domestic violence and sexual abuse, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), adoption support, social inclusion, alcohol and drug advisory services, environmental impact, ex-offenders, care work, and refugee action.

The application deadline is 6 January 2023.*

Find out more about the Weston Charity Awards, eligibility, application process, and what charities get out of applying by joining one of the ‘Everything you need to know’ Zoom sessions:
Wednesday 9 November, 14:00 – 15:00 GMT
Wednesday 16 November, 14:00 – 15:00 GMT
Register for an online session or see full entry criteria at

*Supplementary information may be sought by the end of January for longlisting by a judging panel. A rigorous selection process is then required to handpick the very best third sector organisations worthy of recognition for their achievements. Final selection takes place and winners will be notified in May 2023.

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