Services For Education, the Birmingham-based charity that uses the power of learning and of music to create and build confidence amongst children, young people, adults and communities, has won a top honour in the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards 2021 for its education and community-based work.
Amidst the highest level of entries ever to the awards, the charity was declared winner in Excellence in Education and Training, having been shortlisted alongside four other entrants.
The win for Services For Education, whose mission is to bring music and learning to life, follows previous recognition in the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Awards for its Excellence in Sales & Marketing and Excellence in Training & Education – a category it also won in 2019.
Whilst the awards recognise Services For Education’s long-term work, the accolade pays tribute to the charity’s work since the onset of the pandemic – which saw thousands of Birmingham school-children having to resort to online-learning, many neighbourhoods contemplating a drop in music provision and community engagement – and teachers with the prospect of being left without training support.
The judges were particularly impressed with the way Services For Education moved its operations on-line and for the considerable resources that were produced in just a few months in what they described as “a massive undertaking”.
In response to the pandemic, Services For Education completely changed its business-model with the transformation of services that would normally have been delivered in-person by its 200-plus staff.
Notable amongst its achievements was the development by Services For Education of what is believed to be the UK’s largest online music education resource with 800-plus video tutorials and 380-hours of music tuition. Meanwhile, Services For Education’s four-day Virtual Youth Proms Festival involved 3,500 young musicians and singers viewed by an audience in their own homes. The organisation’s entire training course programme for schools and teachers, including those in the early stages of their careers, was also moved online, attracting 1,900 delegates some of whom were from outside the city-region. During the pandemic, courses have even been delivered virtually to delegates in South Africa and India.
“This award win is a great accolade for our charity and the pioneering work of our staff both before and during the pandemic. For a charity to be recognised by the business community in this way is a great tribute,” said Services For Education Chief Executive Sharon Bell.
Services For Education was also shortlisted as Business of the Year – the accolade going to Shelforce, originally set up as a workplace for the visually impaired as part of the Royal School for the Blind in Birmingham – and was a finalist in Excellence in Contribution to the Community.
“We are of course thrilled with our success but also delighted to be named amongst some of the West Midlands’ leading organisations – many of whom contribute greatly to community work, training and education. We pay tribute to all of them for their great work during such a critical time,” said Sharon.
There were 13 categories in the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards attracting hundreds of entries whose work was assessed by an independent panel of judges.