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Locality Awards Community champions shine at Locality Awards '23 in Bristol

The annual Locality Awards recognise and celebrate the impact and innovation shown by local community organisations across the country.

The annual Locality Awards ‘23 Ceremony took place at the Bristol Marriot Royal Hotel on 7 November, celebrating the impact and innovation shown by local community organisations and charities across the country.

The awards are part of Locality Convention, the biggest community sector event of the year. Each winner took home a coveted trophy and a £1,000 cash prize.

The 2023 Locality Award winners

The Power of Community Award: Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC and WECIL

The Power of Community Award celebrates community organisations who work with local people to shape their own future and to build a fairer society where everyone thrives. This year it was shared by two organisations.

WECIL is a Bristol based organisation run by Disabled people, that provides support to Disabled people to shape their own lives and transform their communities. From successfully challenging the government to overturning harmful policies to co-producing innovative new care systems, WECIL's community is a powerful force for change.

Dominic Ellison, Chief Executive of WECIL, said: “This means a lot. Disabled voices need to be raised in every sector – including our own. Our voices aren’t loud enough or represented enough - so to be recognised by our wider community is brilliant”.

Hackney Co-operative Developments is an east London based organisation that champions small businesses, and supports the creation of sustainable community spaces and groups. Controlled by the community and set up to address local needs, they have helped develop 13 social enterprises, and helped many local people with training, events, accessing benefits and into work.

Anthonia Onigbode, Chief Operating and Finance Officer at Hackney Co-operative Developments said: “Words cannot express what it means; we are so grateful for winning this award. For us, people matter. Our stakeholders matter. We call ourselves a family in Hackney Cooperative Developments. We involve all of our various stakeholders - our employees, trustees, directors, members, people that use the services - we listen to their voices and listen to what they want. We're grateful to take this back to them and I know this will open more doors for them."

“Up and down the country, community organisations are doing incredible things. Their leadership, and dynamism in the face of unprecedented challenges is an inspiration to us all. Each year the Locality Awards shine a spotlight on these organisations, giving them the national recognition they deserve – and bringing their ideas from the margins to the mainstream. Now is the time to give them the power to make meaningful, enduring change – now is the time to kickstart a community power revolution."

Tony Armstrong
Chief Executive of Locality

“It’s a huge privilege for Eastside Community Trust to win this award tonight. The whole team has worked really hard at bringing people together. It’s amazing to be amongst so many great organisations, with all the other great Locality members, and celebrating together. Our organisation is about creating a place of possibility for everyone and a community power revolution would help make that a reality."

Stacy Yelland
Chief Executive of Eastside Community Trust

The Transforming Lives Award: Keighley Healthy Living

This award celebrates a community organisation whose support has had a significant impact on changing local people’s lives.

This year’s winner was Keighley Healthy Living, a West Yorkshire based group that offers support to their local community through one-to-one sessions, social groups and exercise classes that are free and accessible by all. With a focus on lifestyle change and building social connections, they empower service users to make small steps to improve their health and wellbeing.

Melanie Hey, Chief Executive Office, of Keighley Healthy Living said: “We're absolutely delighted to win the Transforming Lives Award - we're over the moon! We're proud to work with our community. We believe in creating community networks where people feel supported, where their voices are heard, and they feel valued and have real purpose."

The Bringing Communities Together Award: Eastside Community Trust

This award celebrates community organisations that bring their diverse communities together, creating places where everyone belongs.

Eastside Community Trust is based in a diverse neighbourhood in inner city Bristol. They run a community centre, an adventure playground and a number of community projects which bring a hugely diverse range of people together. They believe in creating a place of possibility for everyone and connecting communities to create happy and healthy neighbourhoods.

The Enterprising Organisation Award: Love Withington Baths.

This award celebrates a community organisation that has developed a creative business model that makes them successful and financially resilient.

Following a community campaign, in 2015 Love Withington Baths in Manchester, took over a local leisure centre when it was threatened with closure. The business was losing around £200,000 a year. Through expansion of its leisure activities, an increased focus on quality and diversification of services, the charity has doubled its membership and revenue. Using the reserves generated from eight years of successful trading it has just contributed £1 million towards a £3 million refurbishment of its Edwardian facility to establish its long-term future.

The Keep it Local Award: Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council

This award celebrates an outstanding council that has created strong partnerships with local community organisations and has worked in an innovative way to unlock the power of their communities.

In 2020, co-funded by L&Q Housing, Trafford Council established a network of six Community Hubs, who work in partnership to provide support to residents across the borough. The hubs have provided information, support and advice to over 24,000 local people: distributing foodbank parcels, Household Support Fund grants, holding Citizens Advice sessions, supporting refugees and asylum seekers, and delivering a diverse range of community activities.

A lot of hard work has gone into where we are now, so to be recognised by an organisation like Locality with all its members is fabulous… A thriving neighbourhood is a place where people have a voice and people can influence the things that happen and the way they are done - and that's what we're trying to do at Love Withington Baths."

Paul Smith
Managing Director of Love Withington Baths

The Locality awards are part of Locality Convention, the biggest annual community sector event. With the General Election fast approaching, this year's convention had a particular focus on the need to put more power in the hands of communities. At the Convention, Locality unveiled their manifesto, advocating for increased investment in local economies, greater local empowerment, and a transition towards services that focus on addressing the root causes of societal issues rather than solely crisis management.