Birmingham charity receives national accolade

Services For Education declared winner in The Charity Awards 2022

 Birmingham charity Services For Education has received the highest award in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category in The Charity Awards 2022 for the education and training work it provided during the pandemic.

The Charity Awards is the sector’s most highly regarded excellence recognition scheme with all 30 shortlisted charities judged by an independent panel of industry influencers as having demonstrated best practice in leadership and management, from which other organisations can learn.

The Award was presented at a black-tie ceremony attended by the UK’s leading and most innovative charities and also broadcast live from Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

Services For Education – which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary – employs more than 200 staff in Birmingham delivering music tuition to children, and expert training and development to teaching and school support staff. Part-funded by the Arts Council, England it also has its own fund-raising and subsidised commercial operations.

Its Music Service, one of the largest in the country, works with 93% of Birmingham schools and each year teaches music to nearly 38,000 children – as well as running 97 free ensembles and providing 27,000 musical instruments free-of-charge so all children have access to playing and enjoying music together. But as Covid-19 swept across the country, Services For Education saw all of its delivery channels shut off.

Determined that the show must go on, the charity’s staff acted quickly to shift services online, creating hundreds of hours of virtual tutorials and tuition plus hosting online concerts.

The pandemic provided the charity with the impetus to accelerate a three-year plan to develop the country’s largest online music education resource. Through utilising staff and quick thinking, Services For Education was able to continue the delivery of services and create a virtual resource with a global reach that is both sustainable and scalable.

Services For Education’s School Support Service, which provides expert training and development to teaching and support staff in nearly 600 schools in the West Midlands and increasingly across England, moved entirely on-line during the pandemic developing innovative programmes to support the physical and emotional health of children and young people and tailoring its safeguarding courses to meet the new challenges faced by schools.

Sharon Bell, Services For Education’s Chief Executive, who received the award on behalf of the charity, said that despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, the charity had been determined to continue supporting young people.

“Training for schools and for teachers, and using music to inspire children, works best when you bring people together – but the pandemic put a stop to that.

“Instead, our brilliant staff moved mountains to work differently – to do the right thing for Birmingham’s young people and its communities, supporting from afar instead of in-person. The results were outstanding.

“I am delighted that the tremendous efforts our team made have been recognised by Services For Education receiving this great accolade – and particularly so in our tenth anniversary year.”

Matthew Nolan, chief executive of Civil Society Media, which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated Services For Education.

Matt Nolan, chief executive of Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated Services For Education on winning the highly-coveted award.  He said:

“The standard of entries this year was as high as ever, despite the challenges that the sector has faced during the pandemic – so Services For Education should be very proud to have won their category. Their programme has delivered great results.

“For 22 years the Charity Awards have been recognising and celebrating the fantastic work that large and small charities do up and down the UK every day of the week, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities win awards.”

Peter Hugh Smith, chief executive at Overall Awards Partner CCLA, said:

“The Charity Awards represent the pinnacle of charitable endeavour and CCLA is delighted to support the Awards and to help promote the fantastic work that the sector is doing across the UK.

“This year’s competition was as stiff as ever and all the category winners deserve enormous credit. Services For Education demonstrates beyond any doubt that the charity sector really can change the world. Huge congratulations to their team.”

Charity Awards’ judges scored each entry against six Hallmarks of Excellence before coming together for two days of challenge and discussion to select the winners.


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