Winning organisations creating better futures announced

17 Apr 2009

Seven organisations ensuring that better futures are being created in communities throughout Yorkshire and Humber were celebrated last night as the winners of the Creating Better Futures Awards.

The prestigious awards highlight the successful partnerships between private sector and voluntary, community and faith organisations. They aim to demonstrate true partnership working and encourage the sharing and development of skills, knowledge and best practice within the community for its economic development.  Each of the winning voluntary organisations received a prize of £10,000 to invest in their cause.

Four times Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent presented the evening’s awards and spoke of his experience of how strong partnerships and a commitment to succeed, even in the face of adversity, is the key to success – be it Olympic or everyday. 

He explained how, in the run up to the Athens Olympics in 2004 he and the Olympic rowing team were faced with a series of challenges and changes, but that as a team, they recognised that their biggest trap would have been to sit back and say “this is new, I don’t like it…that would have led to failure.” 

Congratulating all the awards finalists and winners, Matthew commented; “In difficult times it has never been more important for people to feel their efforts are being recognised.  This is not a time to just think about surviving, it is a time to commit everything you have to success and work as a team to achieve your goal. 

“These companies and organisations have all done that, and it is great to see.”

Terry Hodgkinson, Chair of Yorkshire Forward presented the awards with Matthew and told those present: “The work you all do, day in and day out is amazing. It changes the lives of people less fortunate, opens doors and it gives everyone the chance they deserve.

The business benefits of a good CSR policy shouldn’t be underplayed or considered selfish they should be championed…and loudly!

“The locality we do business in is important but the growth of our people is too. They are our greatest assets and if they are growing by learning new skills for work and for life - Your organisations will grow too.”

Six of the evening’s awards went to partnerships involving companies in the private sector from across the region, including Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Sheffield.

Calderdale Cares and Project Challenge with RSA Group, Pennine Housing 2000, Marshalls plc, the Halifax, and Calderdale College were rewarded for their efforts to build on the work of ‘Project Challenge’, which aims to change the attitudes, behaviour and involvement of young people through a six-month training Programme to assist them in training or work, and to develop further their self-confidence.

Jocelyn Hunter, Calderdale Cares Manager comments;
"We are delighted to receive this award, it gives this unique partnership the recognition it deserves for all its hard work. The whole group is committed to continue working with young people and give them chances and opportunities for work and we will be using the bursary to support the incredible work that Project Challenge do. We also hope that this award inspires others to join us to help increase our impact even further!"

The Sheffield based Engineering Education Scheme works with N G Bailey to provide a programme of the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) linking Year 12 school students and their teachers with local companies to work on scientific, engineering and technical problems.    

Peter Tattersall, Regional Coordinator of the Engineering Education Scheme comments; “To receive recognition for partnership and commitment from the Yorkshire Forward CBF Award is such a privilege and so encouraging both personally and for the Engineering Education Scheme partnership with N G Bailey, particularly in the current climate. We are all really grateful.”

Leeds based Learning Partnerships works with Addleshaw Goddard to provide a school literacy programme including communication skills, self-esteem and confidence, and increasing pupils’ motivation to do well at school.

Gail Clark, Volunteer Manager for Learning Partnerships comments; “Winning one of the Creating Better Futures Awards has made our year and a significant contribution to the sustainability of our Volunteer Literacy Programme. We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the winners against some other very worthwhile and deserving organisations.

“Not only is it a great achievement for both ourselves and Addleshaw Goddard but also, an official thank you to the volunteers for their time and commitment in supporting local primary school children.

“The Awards highlight the amazing work that is currently going on between the voluntary, community & faith sectors with private and public organisations to make the city of Leeds a better place”.

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm has worked with Zurich Commercial since 2002 in a conservation challenge project at Meanwood, working with children from inner-city schools, young people with low levels of skills and confidence, and adults with learning disabilities.

Susan Reddington MBE, Farm Director at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm comments;

“Winning one of the seven Creating Better Futures Awards is so special because it celebrates our partnership and friendship with Zurich Commercial who never seek publicity for their amazing support and it promotes our work in the community. 

“It also recognises what can be achieved through partnership working practices and it gives me the opportunity to thank all the organisations who contribute so effectively to the Farm’s success.

“We are still so excited and overwhelmed at winning such a prestigious Award and thank Yorkshire Forward for their tremendous support.”

Nick Hoyle, Programme Manager for Zurich Community Trust adds; "We are delighted that Meanwood Valley Urban Farm has won this award for our partnership.  Community involvement is an essential ingredient of Zurich's culture." He added "Since 2002, our relationship has developed and has encouraged greater involvement from Zurich staff from Leeds Zurich Commercial office, from helping out at events to more practical Challenges to two staff members joining the management committee. Everyone wins - staff, the business and most of all the community."

Bradford based Mind the Gap and developer Urban Splash have worked together to find a permanent home for the charity. They now occupy studios in the Silk Warehouse at Lister Mills. The two organisations are continuing to work together to ensure that the diversity Mind the Gap brings to Manningham continues to be supported.

Tim Wheeler, Artistic Director at Mind the Gap comments;
 “It’s fantastic that Mind the Gap’s partnership with Urban Splash has been recognised in this way. It was inspiring to hear Sir Mathew Pinsent speaking about the build up to the Athens Olympics. He reminded us of the hard work and dedication that goes in to reaching an Olympian goal. In difficult times an award like this recognises what can be achieved when we pull together.”

The Children’s Hospital Charity and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club have worked together for a number of years with the Club providing both financial and personal support with players visiting the hospital on a regular basis. The Club has replaced their football strip commercial sponsorship deal with The Children’s Hospital Charity branding, to promote the work of the hospital.

David Vernon-Edwards, Charity Director of the Children’s Hospital Charity comments "We are honoured to accept this prestigious award for our ground-breaking partnership with Sheffield Wednesday.

“The Children's Hospital in Sheffield creates better futures every day for thousands of children and their families from all over Yorkshire and beyond.

“This award will help us to continue to support the Hospital in its amazing work!"

The seventh award, and newest addition to Creating Better Futures, rewards partnership between a public sector body and a voluntary, community or faith organisation.  It recognises the key role that the public sector can have in supporting and promoting the work that voluntary sector bodies carry out in the region.

This award was presented to Leeds Community Foundation and Leeds Ahead with Leeds City Council who have been working to narrow the gap between the city’s more deprived communities and the relative wealth which is enjoyed by the rest of Leeds. Together, the three organisations are working to encourage the council’s staff and suppliers to consider the social and environmental benefits they can bring to the people of Leeds.

Speaking on behalf of the Partnership, Sally Ann Greenfield, Chief Executive of Leeds Community Foundation comments;
“The 3 organisations were delighted with the Creating Better Futures Award because it recognised the very successful partnership that has been created. The two community partners, Leeds Ahead and Leeds Community Foundation, would like to acknowledge the tremendous work that Leeds City Council has put into a wide-ranging programme of activity encompassing volunteering, unlocking redundant assets, environmental activities and much more. 
“It is very refreshing that a public sector organisation has stepped back and thought about what else it can do, over and above its statutory obligations, to encourage staff, suppliers and partner organisations to support local community activity in Leeds.”

For more information about the awards please visit www.yorkshire-forward.com/cbfawards.

ENDS

Notes to Editors
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Leona Thompson, Press Manager on 0113 3949589 or email Leona.thompson@yorkshire-forward.com

Yorkshire Forward
• Yorkshire Forward is the Regional Development Agency behind the economic regeneration of Yorkshire and Humber. It aims to make a positive difference by investing in jobs, improving towns and cities, and in supporting businesses throughout the region.
• Yorkshire Forward’s investment across the region is maximised by attracting European Regional Development Funding from the Objectives One and Two programmes and the 2007-2013 Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programmes.