Award joy for char­ity mak­ing a real im­pact

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page -

ASKELMERSDALE char­ity that pro­vides sup­port and ac­com­mo­da­tion for vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple has won a pres­ti­gious na­tional award.

The Birch­wood Cen­tre has beaten more than 350 or­gan­i­sa­tions from all over the UK to be one of the eight win­ners of the 2018 GSK Im­pact Awards, a na­tional award that recog­nises char­i­ties do­ing ex­cel­lent work to im­prove peo­ple’s health and well­be­ing.

The char­ity will re­ceive £30,000 as part of its prize, as well as ex­pert sup­port and de­vel­op­ment from The King’s Fund.

The Birch­wood Cen­tre pro­vides sup­ported ac­com­mo­da­tion, ad­vice and me­di­a­tion, as well as train­ing and em­ploy­a­bil­ity pro­grammes and coun­selling ser­vices to 13 to 25-year-olds who have com­plex chal­lenges and life­styles.

Its work is hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact in Skelmersdale and is help­ing to pre­vent home­less­ness, and last year two-thirds of those us­ing its me­di­a­tion ser­vices to re­solve fam­ily con­flicts were able to stay with their fam­ily.

The char­ity has an in­no­va­tive ap­proach, for ex­am­ple by es­tab­lish­ing its Junk Food Café, which uses food do­nated by lo­cal su­per­mar­kets that is close to its sell-by date and its ther­a­peu­tic res­i­den­tial sup­port unit, which pro­vides short stay beds for peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems who are ready to be dis­charged from hos­pi­tal but still need sup­port.

This ap­proach has been tested with the NHS and is now due to ex­pand.

Lisa Weaks, head of third sec­tor at The King’s Fund, said: “The Birch­wood Cen­tre is do­ing fan­tas­tic work that is hav­ing a real im­pact in sup­port­ing vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple who are ei­ther home­less or in hous­ing need.

“The judg­ing panel was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by the way the char­ity is al­ways look­ing for new ways to bet­ter sup­port young peo­ple, as well as the ex­cel­lent work­ing re­la­tion­ships it has es­tab­lished with the lo­cal statu­tory sec­tor.”

Stella Con­nell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Birch­wood Cen­tre, said: “We are de­lighted to have re­ceived a GSK Im­pact Award, as it is recog­ni­tion of the qual­ity of the work we are do­ing in sup­port­ing peo­ple who are home­less or in hous­ing need.

“We’re ex­cited to have the chance to work with GSK and The King’s Fund over the months and years ahead, and we hope the award will be a plat­form for tak­ing us to the next level of be­ing able to sup­port those who need us.”

The cen­tre will have ac­cess to train­ing and lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment tai­lored to its needs.

It will also be in­vited to join the GSK Im­pact Awards Net­work, a na­tional net­work of al­most 80 award-win­ning health and well­be­ing char­i­ties work­ing to­gether to de­velop their lead­ers, find new ways of work­ing, and sup­port oth­ers.

The Birch­wood Cen­tre re­ceived its award at a cer­e­mony held at the Sci­ence Mu­seum in Lon­don on May 17, along with seven other award win­ners.

Ro­hingya refugees are des­per­ate for food and shel­ter af­ter flee­ing Myan­mar

Birch­wood CEO Stella Con­nell, and trustee Gail God­son with their award LISA BRETHERICK

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