Creating better futures awards 2010

For the last ten years Yorkshire Forward has worked with a wide range of partners to support community-based economic development. During this time we've seen many inspiring projects, along with the organisations managing them, which deserve to be better promoted.

The Yorkshire Forward Creating Better Futures Awards highlights successful partnerships between the private sector and voluntary, community and faith organisations (VCF). The awards aim to demonstrate the true partnership working between the sectors and encourage the sharing and development of skills, knowledge and ability within the community economic development agenda, whilst promoting best practice.

Previous winners have demonstrated inspirational partnership working between the sectors and the awards recognised the dedication and passion of those involved in the projects.

There will be seven awards made to partnerships which have demonstrated; diversity, innovation, leadership, ambition – in short, all those qualities which make for a successful and dynamic partnership. One of the seven awards will be made to a successful partnership between the VCF sector and an organisation in the public sector. The closing date for 2010 applications has now passed.

The Awards ceremony will take place on Friday 1st July at Leeds City Museum. Guest Speaker on the evening will be Michelle Mone OBE, Founder of Ultimo. To register your place at the dinner please visit
Creating Better Futures Awards 2009 winners were:

Calderdale Cares and Project Challenge with RSA, Halifax Group, Marshalls PLC, Pennine Housing, Calderdale College

Calderdale Cares is an employer-led programme of volunteering in the community. They have teamed up with RSA Group, Pennine Housing 2000, Marshalls plc, the Halifax, and Calderdale College to build on the work of ‘Project Challenge’. This project aims to change the attitudes, behaviour and involvement of young people through a six-month training programme. The business partners in this collaboration have identified the young people in their target group as being within the Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) group.

These young people are often low skilled with little or no formal education, low self-esteem and often leading chaotic lives. The partners have committed themselves to help the young people and build on the work of ‘Project Challenge’. The aim is to assist them to move on into training or work, and to develop further their self-confidence. Different companies have been able to offer a variety of support: career days, training, help with filling in application forms and writing CVs, work clothes, interview practice, work placements, and vocational onsite training.

The benefits for the young people are obvious but the partners have gained by having their perceptions of some young people challenged. They have learnt that formal education may not be the only route into employability, and the secondment opportunities that have arisen through the collaboration have enhanced personal development.

Engineering Education Scheme with NG Bailey

The Scheme is 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. The mission of the Trust is to inspire young people to seek out careers in science, engineering and technology.

N G Bailey is a long-established company providing a range of mechanical and electrical design, installation and maintenance services, and ICT solutions. They have headquarters near Ilkley and have had a long involvement in the education sector.

This involvement and N G Bailey’s corporate education strategy made them an ideal partner to work with the EDT on judging the Engineering Education Scheme. This commitment developed in 2008 when N G Bailey became sponsors of the scheme. As part of this sponsorship, N G Bailey linked with students across the region and provided funds and three engineers to work with three schools: Tapton School in Sheffield, Leeds Grammar School, and Hanson School in Bradford.

The problems the engineers set the students enabled them to develop solutions to real-life engineering problems, allowing them to experience the industry first-hand. The company benefited from encouraging more students to consider engineering, science and technology as career options for the future.

Learning Partnerships with Addleshaw Goddard

Learning Partnerships is a Leeds-based educational charity working in the inner city. These areas are characterised by poor housing, low skills and educational attainment, high unemployment, and large numbers of single-parent families and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The charity has worked with Addleshaw Goddard, one of the UK’s leading corporate law firms, since 2000. Addleshaw’s have a strong history of working with community projects, especially those with an educational focus. Their work with the Learning Partnerships began with four reading volunteers joining a school literacy programme; eight years later, this literacy support is still going strong, although the focus has widened to include communication skills, self-esteem and confidence, and increasing the pupils’ motivation to do well at school.

More recently, Addleshaw’s commitment to the work of the Learning Partnerships involves offering their Leeds office as a training venue for new volunteers, and helping to steer the V Youth Volunteering Project. Plans for the future include using Addleshaw’s Big Week Out project (which aims to offer 1000 volunteering opportunities to employees across the country) to bring staff into schools and playgrounds to help paint them, and deliver skills workshops to local people. Building on this, both partners are planning for Addleshaw volunteers to become involved in the Access to Employment programme, which offers support to lone parents across Leeds.

Leeds Community Foundation and Leeds Ahead with Leeds City Council

Leeds City Council has a strategic objective to narrow the gap between the city’s more deprived communities and the relative wealth which is enjoyed by the rest of Leeds. Recently, they have decided to contribute to the agenda by exploiting opportunities through procedures (for example, through procurement) and through staff resources. This policy has developed into a Corporate Social Responsibility policy called Leeds By Example, in partnership with Leeds Ahead and Leeds Community Foundation.

Leeds Ahead works to involve companies in the social and economic regeneration of the city. Leeds Community Foundation supports disadvantaged communities by making grants to local organisations and charities.  The partnership between these three bodies has developed a range of CSR products for the City Council. These range from traditional activities such as volunteering and fundraising, through environmental projects, to innovative schemes such as the Community Benefits Charter for Suppliers. The Charter encourages suppliers to the Council to support their local communities, and 35 companies have now been awarded Charter Status in recognition of this support.

This pioneering partnership has recently been recognised with a major national award from the Audit Commission.  The coveted Green Flag follows the Audit Commission's Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) of more than 800 public services across England.  

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm Ltd with Zurich Commercial

The Farm was set up in 1980 on a 24-acre site in a deprived area of Leeds. Its purpose is to protect local flora and fauna, provide an environmental education service to schools, training and rehabilitation for the unemployed and a leisure resource to the city.

Meanwood Valley has been working with Zurich Commercial since 2002. Zurich is a worldwide insurance-based financial services provider, with more than 250 staff based in their Leeds offices. Through their strong corporate citizenship ethos, Zurich took part in a conservation challenge project at Meanwood in 2002, during which their staff worked with children from inner-city schools, young people with low levels of skills and confidence, and a group of adults with learning disabilities. Since then, the Farm and Zurich have worked together on a wide range of hands-on projects and the relationship has developed to the point where two Zurich staff members were elected to the Farm’s Management Committee.

Both the Farm and Zurich have benefited in many ways from their partnership. Zurich comment that the work they do with the Farm has produced very positive feedback from participating staff, as well as offering a wide range of personal development and team building opportunities.

Mind the Gap with Urban Splash

Mind the Gap is an arts organisation working with people with learning disabilities. They recognise that learning disabled people with an artistic talent have difficulties accessing the opportunities that other artists have. Mind the Gap work to address this by providing vocational training, supported employment and developing opportunities, such as running an actors’ agency.

Urban Splash, one of the most innovative and imaginative property developers in the country, has been working for a number of years on rescuing Lister Mills in Manningham. They seek to provide benefits to the community outside the walls of the mill buildings, and have been working with Mind the Gap 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.

The Children's Hospital Charity with Sheffield Wednesday Football Club

The Charity works to support the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield, mainly through funding research at one of only four dedicated children’s hospitals in the UK. They also aim to make improvements to the hospital environment to make it a more welcoming place for the children, their families and visitors.

The Children’s Hospital Charity has worked for a number of years with Sheffield Wednesday, one of the oldest football clubs in the country. During their time working together, the Club has made financial contributions to the work of the Charity, and players have visited the hospital on a regular basis. A recent innovation has been the Club’s decision to give up their commercial sponsorship deal on the football strip for the next two seasons. Instead they are featuring the Children’s Hospital on the front of the shirts. This promotes not only the work of the hospital but also the desire of the Club to give something back to their local community.