Voting is now open: please remember only one vote per person
The winning group will be voted for by the public through this website. Select the organisation that you would like to win and feel is the most deserving below. The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony.
Please remember only one vote per person. Voting closes at midnight on 10 October 2019.
Here are the 2019 nominees:
Getaway Girls has been supporting girls and young women aged 11-25 in Leeds to build confidence, resilience and aspirations for 30 years.
With the young women at the heart of the work they have a strength based approach, recognising young women’s strengths, abilities, talents and life experience. They are welcoming and inclusive and offer a safe, creative, flexible young women’s space with a crèche. The work is a balance of support, opportunities and fun. They offer group work, individual support, outreach, detached, residential opportunities creative arts, sports development, adventure education, exchange visits, training, peer support, volunteering. opportunities for voice and influence within Getaway Girls, Leeds and nationally. Young women are a crucial part of the Trustee Board, staff recruitment, decision making, planning, delivery and evaluation & shaping services.
The organisation has grown from a project which offered adventure education to an organisation which builds trust with young women with diverse & multiple needs from many backgrounds. Some examples of projects include : She writes- a creative writing group which has produced a book of amazing poetry about young women’s lives; Sister Sound Salon- a music project for girls, Side by Side peer support group re young women and mental health; Proud to be mum group with swimming with babies , messy play and baby massage. The services include Safe Spaces/ Safer Spaces which supports young women at risk of sexual exploitation; HTC which supports young women with basic needs including a safe place to live, food, money and Women’s Lives Leeds offering complex needs support including relationship abuse and mental health
Global Girls is Getaway Girls Voice and Influence group who run the Girls Hub for Leeds which focuses on making changes for young women in Leeds. They produced an exhibition called She’s that Leeds Girl. At a national Level they are part of the Stand for Girls partnership with Plan UK. Getaway Girls has participated in the House of Lords Event looking at issues affecting girls in the UK.
Getaway Girls has made a positive difference to thousands of young women’s lives over 30 years and works with around 800 young women per year. Some young women then want to support others by completing Getaway Girls Leadership Programme, youth and community qualification and opportunities for volunteering, working in youth and community work and establishing projects in the community.
As a teenager, I struggled at school. I was bullied and had a mentor to support me. I spent a lot of time in the mentor’s office. At college I messed about, got in with the wrong people, got drunk a lot and got pregnant. I was really badly judged for being pregnant at 17 and fell out with all my family.
I didn’t think I had a future and got a bit lost, becoming very isolated and withdrawn. I just staying at home all the time. I had a worker who visited me at home who told me about Getaway Girls as she wanted to get me out of the house. I joined the mums’ group and loved Getaway Girls straight away. I felt welcome, supported and understood. I finally had someone who could support me and help me. Through Getaway Girls I started to feel more confident and less isolated. I started thinking about my future.
Getaway Girls helps girls and young women like me to grow. It empowers you to know someone believes in you. It would have been harder to do what I want to do without the support Getaway Girls..
I joined a school group at Allerton Grange that Getaway Girls was running. We talked about everything. I realised Getaway Girls was in Harehills where I lived so I went to 13-16 group and the summer scheme where I could have fun and get support. I’m a carer and I always had lots to do at home when I wasn’t at school. Sometimes I felt down and not very confident. I had individual support time. I love music but I was a bit scared about going to music sessions that Getaway Girls were running with Lifeforce. I went with a Getaway Girls worker and I attended our Sister Salon music sessions and Women in music workshops. I had my first Djing gig at the Wardrobe and Getaway Girls supported me.. I set up my own business as a DJ at events and I run music / Djing workshops for other girls. My message to other girls is -be who they want to be. I am a member of Global Girls and have planned and run workshops, campaigning and I facilitate the Girls Forum. I led the Valentine’s Day Campaign with the message Love not Control. I am now studying at University. Getaway Girls is still a big part of my life. All the support and opportunities I got from Getaway Girls- building on my strengths and being there when I need them. Now I try to be a role model and support other girls to get the support I had.
I’ve always had mental health problems ever since I was thirteen and it’s still ongoing now. I was involved in CAMHS when I was younger. I went into the hospital when I was seventeen and then there was no support when I turned eighteen. I hadn’t been to any places like Getaway Girls before.
“I’d never been to a place that made me feel so welcome. I felt like I’d found my place. It feels like a home from home. No one judges you. I always look forward to going to Getaway Girls.”I go to Side by Side group. We do lots of crafts and talk about everything including positive thinking and feeling good about ourselves and I also have 1-2-1’s. It helps knowing I have someone to talk to!
Leeds Children's Charity
Leeds Children’s Charity, founded in 1904, provides free holidays for young people (aged between 7 and 11) who are from backgrounds of severe challenge and disadvantage from Leeds. Last year the charity worked with and supported its 60,500th child. All the young people the charity supports are identified as being the most in need children in the city. The charity used to deliver its work at the Silverdale centre, in the Lakes. However, their work is now delivered from Lineham Farm Children’s Centre, in Leeds.
The young people we work with and support are part of the care system; from homes where violence is part of day-to-day life; homes where single parents hold down two or three jobs in order to survive; homes where drug use causes havoc or homes where early intervention can make a real difference to life outcomes.
Respite from lives broken or burdened with care
In 2018, abuse and neglect were cited as the most common reasons underpinning national Children in Need Assessments by the Department of Education. The majority of these cases were associated with domestic abuse and the increasing rate of mental health problems in both adults and children. Ahead of Sheffield and Bradford, with its slightly larger population, Leeds also reported the highest number of Children in Need Episodes and Social Care Referrals in the Yorkshire region. The work the charity delivers does all that it can to help support young people with these issues – partner groups refer and then support the young people post respite. In addition, specific work with young people is delivered that helps families stay together, both reducing the risk of further trauma but also saving fostering costs.
A couple of case studies
Joe’s mum killed herself in July. Joe and his sister then went to live with their dad at his parents’ house before he secured a property of his own this year. Dad has gone from being a weekend dad to full time carer. This has been a complete change to the family dynamics and along with supporting his children through their bereavement he has been coping with his own grief. Dad works very hard but despite having two jobs, the family is very poor. I feel a break for both siblings together would be beneficial for the whole family.
Mum (because of all that has gone on in the family – violence and abuse) continues to suffer from depression, but she does her very best, against what are considerable odds. Sally is a bright girl and works very hard, but some days her life seems to be just too much for her – she is a ray of sunshine and whilst other children moan and complain, she (most of the time) gets on with life. She deserves all the support she can get and a holiday with Leeds Children’s Charity is, I think, well deserved. To my knowledge, she has never been away before. She is 9 years old.
Testimonies – what we deliver works
“Every child enjoys their time with Leeds Children’s Charity. Confidence, raised self-esteem and increased independence are some of the benefits for the children and it must be lovely for them to spend some time where life is fun and calm. Leeds Children’s Charity is a fantastic charity and hundreds of children will look back on their holiday with fondness all their lives.” Head teacher.
“Leeds Children’s Charity offers something that we cannot – the opportunity for children to ‘get away’ from the oppressive circumstances that they find themselves in and show them a viable alternative.” Head teacher.
“In every case the children have come back enthusing about the experiences they have had. If I had not received this positive feedback, I would not have recommended children each year. Parents also have been very grateful that their children have been able to benefit from a holiday, when they could not afford to send them. I have seen the benefits of the work the charity delivers and I really hope that you can continue to provide this excellent facility for children in need.” Head teacher.
What the charity delivers, works. Please support us. Please help us to create happy, positive, memorable, and unforgettable childhood memories.
Memories that all children should have.
Sunshine & Smiles
Sunshine & Smiles
Sunshine & Smiles is a charity who provide support in Leeds for children and young people who have Down syndrome and their families.
The small charity is coming up to its 6th year and is parent led while overseen by a team of four trustees. They are the only specific support network in Leeds who fulfil a vital role in the local community.
Supporting families in Leeds
When a parent is told their baby has Down syndrome it can often take time to adjust & work through many different emotions. We offer one to one support to families in both pre-natal and post-natal stages. All our staff who conduct home visits are parents to a child who has Down syndrome and can share their personal experiences.
All our services are free and accessible to families in Leeds and the surrounding areas. We offer speech and language therapy to all ages and run weekly activities to encourage development and social skills.
No one is disabled when we are given equal opportunities and have no obstacles to overcome
We aim to improve the lives and opportunities for children and young people with Down syndrome and continue to raise awareness and challenge preconceptions in the wider community.
Last year, in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day the charity ran a pilot, pop up Café in Headingley. This milestone enabled young adults to learn skills such as barista training, customer services & gain food safety qualifications, as well as raising awareness with the public about what Sunshine & Smiles offer.
One year on and the charity now have a shop & café in the heart of Headingley, run by an amazing team of people, 9 of who have Down Syndrome.
21 Co. opened in January and people have come from all over the UK to visit. This has been Sunshine & Smiles’ biggest project to date, and the charity hope this inspiring enterprise will encourage other businesses and organisations to be more inclusive, and to give them confidence in supporting people with a learning disability into their workplace.
Louise’s Story – told by her Mum, Maxine
My daughter Louise is 25 and has Down Syndrome. We have been involved with Sunshine and Smiles for about 4 years.
The support from this charity has been invaluable. Speech has always been an issue for Louise, she has always had delayed language skills. It was always difficult to have access to a speech and language therapist during her school years. Now, thanks to Sunshine and Smiles she has monthly speech and language sessions.
Last March 2018, Louise worked at the pop up café set up by Sunshine and Smiles. It was here that we really saw what she was capable of! She successfully completed barista training and then put those skills into practice at the café. Up until then we, as parents never thought she would be able to work. How wrong we were! Thanks to Sunshine and Smiles she now works regular shifts at their café in Headingley, 21Co and she loves it. I have never seen anyone so excited to be going to work.
Louise has benefited greatly from Sunshine and Smiles and we have too as parents knowing she is improving all the time in a very safe and caring environment.
Thank you for your support
To ensure that the support network is sustainable in the long term and that we can continue to provide support and activities, we must rely on donations, grants and supporters to ensure the longevity of Sunshine & Smiles.
Find out more
YouTube – http://bit.do/SunshineYouTube
Facebook – http://bit.do/SunshineFacebook
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sun_smilesleeds
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sunshineandsmilez/
Website – http://www.sunshineandsmiles.org.uk