After the most challenging year in Create’s 18-year history, I am over-the-moon – and a little overwhelmed, given the stiff competition – that we won the Charity Times Digital Transformation of the Year Award last night.
The Charity Times Awards
The awards recognise, celebrate and promote best practice in the UK charity sector. For this award, which was new for 2021, the judges were looking for charities that, prior to March 2020, had very little digital experience, and had transformed a number of physical functions into successful, sustainable, virtual operations.
Other charities shortlisted were Child Poverty Action Group, Electric Umbrella, Encephalitis Society, Guide Dogs, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
In selecting Create as the winner, the judges said:
“We were extremely impressed with the work this charity did in consulting key stakeholders, designing and launching an online delivery method. The impact of this transformation was clearly demonstrated.”
Charity Times further commented:
“As a winner of one of our awards, it is clear you are a leading force in the Charities Industry. This year provided the highest volume of entries we have ever had, and thus winning is an additional achievement.“
Our most successful year
When we were shortlisted for this award back in July, I reflected in my blog on the journey we have been through as a charity, from cancellation of every project in the diary in March 2020 to our busiest and most successful year to date. Over the following 12 months, we designed and delivered 59 projects/938 workshops across the UK that reached 1,303 disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adults.
“This digital transformation has been so effective.”
It was our digital transformation that made this possible. During the fortnight after lockdown, we researched, consulted, designed, piloted, safeguarded and launched an entirely new way of working: Create Live!. This enabled us to continue delivering projects that could connect, empower, inspire, upskill and enhance the wellbeing of our participants at a time of intense need.
We provided free training and high-quality paid work to 33 of our professional artists, including six emerging artists; we shared our digital expertise with our community partners, helping them to establish their own online delivery models; and we empowered our participants, who developed vital digital skills. This digital transformation has been so effective that we are now delivering our work via a blended model of Create Live! and in-venue to suit our partner organisation and participant preferences. This means we can continue to reach those who are unable to attend in person.
“I feel hugely privileged to lead a charity that constantly goes the extra mile for our participants.”
Winning this award is the most wonderful national recognition of the passion, commitment, drive and energy of everyone who is involved in Create: our team, our professional artists, our Trustees, our volunteers, our funding and community partners and – above all – our participants. I feel hugely privileged to lead a charity that constantly goes the extra mile for our participants.
And for me, last night was also about something else that was important. After 18 months of COVID and lockdowns, during which the charity sector has achieved more than any of us could have believed possible, last night was a wonderful celebration of the incredible people who run the charitable sector of which I am proud to be a part.
Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive
Support Create today
The coronavirus outbreak means that loneliness and anxiety are increasing. Our new digital initiative, Create Live!, is helping to empower lives, reduce isolation and enhance wellbeing. Find out more about it here.
Donate now and help us to provide a vital creative lifeline to the most vulnerable children and adults in isolation.