The YOU Trust is delighted to announce that it has taken the top prize in the Advice, Support and Campaigning category at this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.
The YOU Trust won the award for the changes to its advice service in Portsmouth, which provides free support and legal advice to anyone in the local community struggling with family issues, employment, housing, welfare benefits and debt issues.
Before the changes made in the advice service, the previous system saw inefficiencies which resulted in longer waiting times with many people giving up and leaving without being helped.
After a three month listening exercise, The YOU Trust completely changed the way it was providing the service. Employing a holistic, systems-centred approach, clients' needs were put at the heart of the advisory process. "Pointless" initial form-filling was abandoned and qualified legal advisers worked closely with each individual and identified the root cause of their problems. With the help of volunteers, they then provided continuing assistance and support in a friendly, safe environment.
As a result of the changes, waiting times have been dramatically reduced from up to 3 hours to an average of 12 minutes, Advice Portsmouth processes on average 13,500 cases each year, up from 9,000 before, and 99% of clients rated the service at 9/10 or higher.
Alongside nine other category winners, the Overall Winner and the recipient of the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, YOU Trust was presented with the award at a star-studded black-tie ceremony at the Mermaid Theatre in London on Thursday 9 June, hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.
Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated YOU Trust on winning the highly-coveted award. She said:
“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so YOU Trust should be very proud to have won their category. Their project delivered amazing results. For 17 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities win awards.”
John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, overall partner of the Charity Awards, said:
“This year's Charity Awards celebrate the inspiring people working in neighbourhoods and communities across the UK and overseas to make the world a better place. Celebrating these successes - as these awards have now been doing for 17 years - is an important part of maintaining and building Britain's proud culture of civil action and generosity. The organisations which won awards and those who were shortlisted demonstrate a great sense of teamwork, collaboration and management excellence. It is humbling to see the amazing work being done by people who are changing lives in so many ways. Their stories are an inspiration, and my congratulations go out to them all.”
Nicola Youern, chief executive of YOU Trust, said:
"We were thrilled to have won this award which belongs to the brilliant staff and volunteers at Advice Portsmouth who are dedicated to helping the people of Portsmouth."