Stars of Bristol’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector Celebrated at the Voscurs, Bristol’s Social Impact Awards

31 January, 2020


Community organisations and individuals from across the local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector were celebrated last night at the Voscurs, Bristol’s social impact awards, held by Voscur in the Great Eastern Hall at the SS Great Britain.


Six awards were presented on the night, with over 100 sector stakeholders in the audience. Having just declared a Climate Emergency at our AGM, we were proud to include a new award category, Environmental Impact, to recognise a local VCSE organisation’s work to reduce Bristol’s carbon footprint.


The winners in each category were:


WECIL collect the Batook Pandya Award for Inclusion at the Voscurs 2020 WECIL with their Voscur award for inclusion


Batook Pandya Award for Inclusion: WECIL


This award is given in memory of Batook Pandya MBE, former Director of SARI charity, who died in 2014. Alex Raikes MBE, Strategic Director of SARI, presented the award to WECIL (The West of England Centre for Inclusive Living),in recognition of its work using the social model of disability to advocate for the inclusion of disabled people in and around Bristol.


Rising Arts Agency collect the Young Community Leader Award at the Voscurs 2020 Rising Arts Agency staff collect their award at the Voscurs


Young Community Leader Award: Rising Arts Agency


Journalist and radio presenter Rema Mukena gave the Young Community Leader Award to Rising Arts Agency for its work inspiring young people to get involved in the arts, find peer mentors and professional development, and have their voices and creative output recognised.


IRISi Partnership collects the Partnership Award at the Voscurs 2020 The IRISi Partnership awarded for partnership working


Young Bristol and Alive Activities collect their Partnership Award at the Voscurs 2020 Staff from Young Bristol and Alive Activities with their award


The Partnership Award: The Bristol & South Gloucestershire IRIS Partnership, and Young Bristol & Alive Activities


In an unprecedented move, two different partnerships were awarded for their collaboration work, as the judging panel felt they were equally worthy winners.


The IRIS Partnership is centred on IRISi, a Bristol- based social enterprise established to promote and improve the health care response to gender based violence, developed at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care. Next Link, which supports victims and survivors of domestic abuse and violence, provides IRISi services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.


Young Bristol and Alive Activities partnered to work on intergenerational relationship-building. Three Young Bristol youth clubs were paired with care homes, and together they got involved in activities, home visits and day trips that benefitted both age groups, and even led to long-term volunteering opportunities and career ideas for the young people.


Would you like to work in a partnership, but you feel you're missing the right skills to make it a success? Our Skills for Partnership Working course is just what you need. Register now.


Ari Cantwell of Coexist Community Kitchen and Dave Coole of Hawkspring at the Voscurs 2020 Ari Cantwell with the Community Leader Award at the Voscurs 2020


Community Leader Award: Ari Cantwell


Ari Cantwell set up the Coexist Community Kitchen at Hamilton House, serving refugees and community groups serving people with addiction, but she had to find new premises when the business tenants of Hamilton House were evicted. She has since reestablished Coexist in its new home in Easton, continuing to help those in need.


This award was presented to Ari by Dave Coole of Hawkspring, in memory of last year’s winner, former Hawkspring CEO and founder Lorraine Bush, who sadly died in April 2019. It was a particularly emotional moment for the audience as Dave paid tribute to his colleague and friend, well-known in the local VCSE sector. On presenting the award, Dave Coole said:


“Please don’t underestimate the importance of these awards; I know it meant so much to Lorraine, as it will for Ari. Let’s feel proud that we have all been community leaders in our areas for another year, and for what we are all achieving during these very difficult times.”


Staff from Bristol Dementia Action Alliance collect the Resilience Award from Tim Temple at the Voscurs 2020 Staff from Bristol Dementia Action Alliance with their Voscur award for resilience


Resilience Award: Bristol Dementia Action Alliance


As people tend to live longer, the prevalence of dementia inevitably increases. The work of Bristol Dementia Action Alliance stands out for two reasons: its contribution to making Bristol a dementia-friendly city, and for achieving so much with very little financial input but a massive amount of volunteer time and experience. The award was collected by Tony Hall and other staff members of the Alliance.


Staff from the C.H.E.E.S.E. Project CIC collect their Voscur award from Ian Barrett of Avon Wildlife Trust and Sandra Meadows of Voscur The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project CIC with the Voscur Award for Environmental Impact at the Voscurs 2020


Environmental Impact Award: The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project CIC


Closing the awards, the C.H.E.E.S.E. Project CIC referenced the Australian wildfires in its acceptance speech – a shocking reminder of the scale of the global climate emergency, and a fitting link back to the environmental theme of this year’s conference and awards.


Reducing emissions from households in the city is a critical element of Bristol’s strategy of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and the CHEESE Project has demonstrated how to make significant savings using expertly trained volunteers – a great example of how the whole city can tackle the climate emergency.


If you'd like to reduce your organisation's carbon footprint in a manageable way, even on a small budget or in a small team, sign up to next week's half-day training course and help Bristol become carbon neutral by 2030.