HALO Trust wins top award at Charity Awards 2012

15 June 2012

Charity Awards 2012 logoThe HALO Trust, the world’s oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organisation, beat charities from all over the UK to win the most prestigious accolade in the UK charity sector at The Charity Awards 2012.

It first picked up the International aid and development award before going on to scoop the top prize of the night - overall award for excellence. Francis Maude, minister for the cabinet office, presented the winner’s trophy to Guy Willoughby (Director) at a glittering ceremony last night at London’s Grosvenor House.

The Charity Awards, organised by Civil Society Media, first recognised HALO for its work in Sri Lanka, where it has now found and destroyed over 120,000 landmines allowing 190,000 people displaced during the civil war to return home.

Using a small team of experienced expatriates, HALO has now trained 1067 national staff, most of whom are recent returnees, to conduct both manual and mechanical mine-clearance in their own communities. More than four million square metres of mined land has been painstakingly cleared over the past nine years, including land now used for school playgrounds, medical facilities, paddy fields, roads, houses and gardens, temples and fishing jetties.

On receiving the overall award for excellence, Guy Willoughby said:

“This award is a testament to the 8,000 deminers HALO has around the world clearing landmines day in, day out. We are just reaching our 25th anniversary and it is sad that it has taken us so many years to clear most of the landmines in many post-conflict countries.

It is vital that we increase the number of deminers working around the world so that we can completely rid countries such as Angola, Cambodia and Sri Lanka of landmines forever. Landmines, like polio, can be entirely eradicated through the commitment of men and women, such as HALO’s deminers. The important thing is that we work ourselves out of a job and never have to reach our 50th birthday.”

The Charity Awards is the highest profile event in the charity calendar. Awards are presented in 10 categories with each of the winning charities having been judged by an independent panel of sector leaders as having demonstrated outstanding best practice from which other organisations can learn.

As well as the category winners, the judges presented the Outstanding leadership award to Dame Fiona Reynolds of the National Trust.

Daniel Phelan, organiser of The Charity Awards comments:

“The Charity Awards programme recognises the exceptional work that takes place within the voluntary sector and the dramatic effects that charities have on a wide spectrum of social needs.

It’s vital that we acknowledge the work these organisations do, which is why I’m delighted The HALO Trust has won the Overall award for excellence. They beat off very stiff competition for this prestigious prize and should be enormously proud. I congratulate everyone involved.”

John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, which sponsors The Charity Awards, comments:

“I would like to congratulate and commend all the winning charities this year, as well as all those who were highly commended. The judges singled out those charities whose excellence in charity management they felt will inspire others. Once again the calibre of entries was very impressive and each and every one of the awards richly deserved.”

2012 award categories and winners

  • Advice, support and advocacy: Thomson Reuters Foundation
  • Arts, culture and heritage: Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
  • Children and youth: YMCA Scotland
  • Disability: MacIntyre
  • Education and training: The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
  • Environment and conservation: Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust
  • Grantmaking and funding: Somerset Community Foundation and Community Foundation Network
  • Healthcare and medical research: Julia's House
  • International aid and development: The HALO Trust
  • Social care and welfare: People, Potential, Possibilities P3
  • Effectiveness Award: Crossroads Care Cambridgeshire
  • Overall Award for Excellence: The HALO Trust
  • Outstanding Leadership Award: Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of The National Trust

The distinguished panel of judges for 2012

  • Andrew Hind CB, editor of Charity Finance and former chief executive of the Charity Commission
  • Dr John Low CBE, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation
  • Dame Mary Marsh, founding director of the Clore Social Leadership Programme and former chief executive of the NSPCC
  • Sir Christopher Kelly, chair of the King’s Fund
  • Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of RNIB
  • Sue Sayer OBE, chief executive of United Response
  • Fiona Ellis, member of NCVO Funding Commission and former director of the Northern Rock Foundation
  • Anne-Marie Piper, partner at Farrer & Co
  • Dorothy Dalton, editor of Governance
  • Mark Goldring CBE, chief executive of Mencap
  • Colin Nee, interim executive director of Marr-Manning Trust and former chief executive of Charities Evaluation Services
  • Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Essex Community Foundation

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Media contacts

For more information about The Charity Awards 2012 please contact:
Dominic Collard, Civil Society Media by phone on 020 7819 1229 or via email.

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