Yesterday evening I was very happy to be the guest of Booktrust at the Third Sector Excellence Awards. Here’s a classically terrible photo, taken by me, of Obi Amadi (representing the health professionals who are critical to the delivery of Bookstart); Booktrust’s Chief Executive; Viv Bird, Booktrust’s Director of Programmes; Rosemary Clarke; and Paul Hudson, who heads up Booktrust’s fundraising efforts.
Booktrust were shortlisted for the most prestigious award for an organisation of the evening, The Big Impact award, for their long-running book gifting programme for babies and toddlers, Bookstart. This is a programme I’ve long admired, and, over the years, tried to find ways of supporting. I spoke about my first experience of it in this blog post.
They didn’t win this year, but to make the shortlist together with such impressive and, in some cases, very large scale organisations was a huge achievement.
The atmosphere was terrific. It was, frankly, rather humbling to be in a room with people who spent most of their lives trying to make the world better in their different ways. There were people whose own lives had been touched by the focus of the charity they were associated with (like Hannah Jones, joint winner of the Volunteer of the Year award for her work with The Brain Tumour Charity, who was picking up the award three years after her own diagnosis) as well as third-sector professionals. There were small charities and large charities. Charities with a small specific or local focus and international organisations. The sense of energy and humour in the room was enhanced by the admirably slick and funny compere, Paul Sinha.
So congratulations to Booktrust on their impressive shortlisting. They have, I know, more awards ceremonies coming up, so I for one have my fingers firmly crossed that they’ll receive all the recognition they deserve.