Your UK Parliament Awards Results 2018

Pupils, teachers, Scouts, and community groups from across the country attended a special event at the Houses of Parliament on 14 March 2018 to receive their Your UK Parliament Awards.

These awards celebrate the amazing work of passionate, engaged people all over the UK who make a difference in their communities and beyond by connecting with the UK Parliament.

The awards ceremony was hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

Award winners were chosen by the Speaker, a judging panel of MPs and independent judges, from entries sent in by schools, community groups and organisations all over the UK.

Rt Hon John Bercow MP, The Speaker of the House of Commons, said:

“All of the winners should be immensely proud of themselves. Their stories will help inspire others to take action.”

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said:

“The awards celebrate people and communities’ positive engagement with the UK Parliament. We were delighted to see so many inspiring submissions from across the UK. The winners demonstrate the power of having their voices heard to engage and influence the UK Parliament.”

Teacher Ambassador Award Winner

The winner of the Teacher Ambassador Award was Arthur Wood, Deputy Head of Juniors at Ashbridge School in Preston.

This award is for a teacher or educational leader who has taken part in Teachers’ Institute and used this experience to teach students and colleagues in innovative ways about the UK Parliament.

Arthur completed the Teachers’ Institute in July 2017, and qualified as a Gold Ambassador in December 2018.

UK Parliament Week Award Winner

The winner of the UK Parliament Week Award was ScoutsCymru.

This award celebrates the contribution of our most engaged and active UK Parliament Week partner in 2017. Over 4500 events took place in UK Parliament Week this year, making it the biggest and most successful yet.

ScoutsCymru was an active UK Parliament Week Partner, with around 490 ScoutsCymru members taking part in UK Parliament Week across 26 of 40 constituencies in Wales.

Digital Democracy Award Winner

The winner of the Digital Democracy Award was Rachael Farrington from Voting Counts.

This award celebrates the work of an individual or organisation that has connected people with the UK Parliament through digital engagement.

Voting Counts is a website providing a simple, unbiased resource that aims to engage young adults in elections by explaining the importance of their vote.

Community Campaigner Award Winner

The winner of the Community Campaigner Award was Become, a charity for children in care and young care leavers.

This award recognises an individual or organisation that has worked towards change in their local community, encouraging and enabling others to do the same.

Become have spent the last two years delivering an amazing project called Passport to Parliament, enabling looked after children and care givers to be agents of change.

The Speaker’s School Action Award

The winner of The Speaker’s School Action Award was Biddenham International School & Sports College in Bedford.

This award recognises fantastic projects which have had a positive impact on schools or local communities. This special award is sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Commons and applications from individuals, school groups or school councils were welcomed.

The school’s Student Forum was proactive in raising awareness of mental health issues, including exam stress and anxiety, and introducing a range of support mechanisms for mental health and well-being in schools.

Next year it could be you…

Get inspired by the winners of this year’s Your UK Parliament Awards!


Small charity used tight budgets as excuse to neglect staff

Charities need better leaders with the skills to keep their employees motivated and happy – whatever the financial constraints

Small charities are some of the most rewarding organisations to work for. There are so many positives: the commitment and passion of colleagues, the success stories that are a direct consequence of your hard work, the chance to get involved with projects outside of your expertise and the sense of unity that comes from overcoming challenges together every day.

But there is a darker side. Leaders of small charities can also promote the attitude that working to a tight budget makes it OK to be unprofessional. The result is high staff turnover, which has a huge impact on programme work, funding streams and beneficiaries.

I experienced micro-management firsthand that was detrimental to the fundraising projects I was working on, as well as to my confidence. My manager insisted on being involved at every stage, which added weeks to each project. I had no ownership of my work and essentially acted as a go-between for my manager and the contractors we employed.

The final straw was when a colleague made homophobic comments at a social event after work. I reported this to my manager but no action was taken – it wasn’t seen as a work issue because it had happened after hours. It was frustrating that, in a sector that fights for equality and justice, my complaint was not taken seriously. If anything, I was made to feel I’d done something wrong by bringing my colleague’s behaviour to light.

As a small charity, there was no human resources department, which meant there was nowhere safe and confidential to escalate these matters. It also led to a lack of training at management level, leaving many in leadership positions unaware of how to speak to a wider team, give feedback effectively or keep morale up.

Looking back, I question why the organisation I used to work for did not think it necessary to look out for staff or question why most left after only a year. It seems bizarre that the trustees and leadership team did not ask why staff were so unhappy.

A tight budget is no excuse for neglecting your team. Small charities deserve better leaders with better people management skills. With happier staff comes stability and consistency, making the workplace a more productive place to be. That all benefits our beneficiaries. So why do so few small charities want to invest in it?

Want to share your own experience working in the charity or non-profit sector? Email [email protected]

Stand Out From The Crowd For Funding Success

When it comes to grant funding, we’re all guilty of ploughing the same furrow, especially if it has reaped dividends in the past. It’s a tough funding environment, there are still £billions in grant funding available but there are over 165,000 other organisations in the voluntary sector vying for that same funding. To be successful you need to think about how to stand out from the crowd.

Understand the landscape your project operates in

We can all be a bit insular at times. We know why our organisation and the projects we work on are needed; after all we speak to our beneficiaries all the time, and we care about our work.

But do we regularly stop and give ourselves space to think about how our work fits into the wider external environment?

To make the most of funding opportunities we need to know the motivation behind them. Do your stakeholder analysis. Get to know:

  • funders who fund your type of projects. What are their aims and priorities right now?
  • what’s going on in your area – from your location to your part of the sector?
  • what are the needs of other local and/or similar organisations?
  • what are the hot topics that politicians and the media are talking about?

The environment around us is constantly changing. We need to know and understand the latest trends so we’re best placed to take advantage of them.

Visit the support and advice section on Funding Central for more information.

Match funding opportunities to your priorities – rather than the other way around

If we are honest, when times are tight we’ve all chased funding that probably wasn’t right. But let’s say it again and then again louder: don’t get distracted by funding that’s not right for your project. It’s going to waste a lot of your time and not really deliver on what’s important to your organisation (therefore your beneficiaries).

Your organisation has a vision, a mission and strategy for what you want to deliver, stick to that.

Of course you’ll want to explore new areas and projects but if they start falling outside your organisation’s scope then you need to have a fresh look at your strategy and see if it needs to change to help bring some focus.

Look for different types of funding opportunities

If you rely on one funder or one income stream, the effect of any changes to that income can be disastrous for your organisation and your beneficiaries. We know only too well that it’s hard work to replace funding for a project completely funded by one income stream.

Diversification is key to a sustainable future, so mix it up when it comes to income streams and to funders.