We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  ~ John W Gardner


The aim of the Awards, in line with Stephen’s own approach, is to help create success by finding and nurturing innovative ideas and projects that can lead to practical, sustainable social change. The Awards are particularly interested in supporting ideas that address social problems at a systemic level.

The heart of the Awards is the bringing together of experts that can deliver practical, free support to shortlisted candidates as well as Award winners. In addition, funding of up to £20,000 will be made available to support Award winners in developing their initiatives. At the shortlist stage the Awards will make up to ten awards of up to £2,000 to assist candidates to further develop their ideas.

Ideas may come in many forms. They may be a new-start enterprise or an extension of an organisation’s existing work; however, preference will be given to entries originating from a start-up or early stage project, rather than from a subsidiary of a larger charity organisation.  They might be a discrete piece of lobbying work or a high profile campaign; the aim might be to change policy or legislation or to create a new legal form or financial structure, for example.

Who Can Apply?

Anyone resident in the UK, or any organisation or charity established in the UK that has an innovative idea seeking to address a problem systemically, can apply.

All projects must be for exclusively charitable purposes (according to the laws of England and Wales).

We accept applications from:

1.1. UK charities running projects in the UK.
1.2. UK charities that will run or oversee and take responsibility for a project abroad.
1.3. Other established UK non-profit and social enterprise entities that will run or oversee and take responsibility for a project in the UK or abroad.
1.4. Individuals resident in the UK who are in the process of establishing a UK charity, non-profit or social enterprise, which will receive any grant awarded and oversee the relevant project.

In order for an application to proceed to the next stage, we may need to carry out due diligence work. If we make a grant to a UK-based individual or non-charitable organisation in relation to a project abroad, we are likely to require a higher degree of monitoring and reporting than we might otherwise require.

If an application wins a Stephen Lloyd Award and involves the establishment of a UK charity to receive the grant and administer the payments, any grant awarded will only be paid once that charity has been registered.

Who Cannot Apply?

We do not accept applications from individuals resident outside the UK or organisations registered or located outside the UK.

Applications Overview

We would like to understand what the innovation is and why it is needed, alongside evidence of need and an explanation of the impact you will have, if you are successful. We would also like to know about your track record, what you need for the idea to succeed and more importantly, how you think the Awards’ community may be able to assist you. In order to apply, you will need to submit an online application form (see section below for further guidance – please note that applications for 2020 Awards are now closed).

Online Application Form Guidance

To help you organise your answers for the online application form, please prepare a description of your work or idea in advance, before submitting the form.  [Please note that applications for 2020 Awards are now closed]

Apart from the first section requesting general information, the form is structured into three main sections (using the “Situation, Complication, Solution” approach) which will be key to presenting your idea. Click here for some basic guidance on this.

We would like to learn a little more about the individual or team invested into the project. A one or two line background information on the team can be included in the application.

If you know any of our Awards partners listed here,  you may ask them for supporting statements. Please don’t contact partners unless you already have a relationship with them and they would be in a position to support your application.  If you do not have a relationship with any of our partners, that is fine, as it is not mandatory to have a supporting statement in order to apply.  However, if you do come across a partner whose support would be beneficial to your project, we would like to know how.  Please outline that in the application form under Section C – Wider Support.

Where relevant, please include recent accounts and governing documents as attachments.

You are also welcome to upload one additional page of references and links to relevant supporting materials.

Any queries in relation to the form should be sent to info@stephenlloydawards.org marked for the attention of Mona Rahman.

Application Acceptance Period

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Awards programme remained open for entries until 17 April. We have had to temporarily halt our 2020 Awards process, finding ourselves in a changed world facing new challenges. In endeavouring to meet social need by continuing to support systemic change-makers, we are pleased to both consider existing applications and to unlock a short application window to new applications.

Existing applicants can choose to either continue with their existing application or resubmit a revised or new application.  All entrants who have applied by 17 April will be contacted individually with respect to the new timeline for assessments, telephone interviews and the final judging event.

Applications close at midnight 16 September 2020 (for all re-submissions and new entries)

Assessment Process 

Following the closing date, the assessment process occurs in two stages.

The first stage involves scoring the application on the following criteria: innovation, systems change,  direct impact, evidence and how the grant funding will eventually be budgeted and used.  The individual or team’s position to achieve social impact will also be examined, along with their potential to benefit from the Award’s wider network of partners.

The second stage involves shortlisting applicants for telephone interviews, based on the overall scores resulting from the above initial assessment.

The judging and shortlisting period takes place between 23 September and 28 October 2020.

Our revised 2020 Awards timeline is as follows:

• 16 September (midnight) – Deadline for online re-submissions and new entries
• 23 September – 28 October – Judging and Shortlisting Period
• 5 and 6 November – Telephone Interviews, by invitation only
• 9-29 November – Finalists’ Support Phase and Preparation for Finale event
• 2 December – Virtual Online Awards Finale Event

Selection for Telephone Interviews

Selection for telephone interviews are by invitation only, following the initial assessment process. We would expect around 20 applicants to proceed to interview.  Interviews will be conducted over the phone or over two days.  The interviews are an opportunity for applicants to explain their idea in more depth, discuss any needs and enthuse the selection judging panel. Interviewees will be informed within a few days after the interview as to whether or not they have been successful in moving onto the next stage of the application process, the Development Phase.

Telephone interviews will take place on 5th and 6th November.

Development Phase

We expect the telephone interview process to result in a shortlist of up to 10 candidates. The interviews will identify areas where the candidate may benefit from, by working up a full plan/application, conducting additional research, building a community of support, etc., within the Development Phase.

This phase will last up to five weeks and wherever possible, members of the Awards’ community will be identified to support applicants over that period. We also welcome applicants’ supporters becoming involved during this development phase.

We will also grant up to £2,000 per finalist during this phase, if a need is demonstrated, which will help them work their way towards their presentation at the live judging event in London, subject to the latest government recommendations surrounding Covid-19.

The development phase takes place between 9-29 November 2020.

Presentations at Final Event

At the end of the Development Phase, you will present to the Awards’ network at an evening event (digital and virtual) on 2nd December 2020. The audience votes and together decides the winner or winner of the Awards. Success depends on the applicants convincing the attendees of the value and prospects of their idea or project.

The funding limit will generally be up to £20,000, although exceptions may be made.  Funding is subject to the approval of the Trustees of the Bates Wells Foundation, whereby the project seeks to advance its charitable purposes as originally presented.

Even if you are not given an award, our aim is that the process along the way (i.e. the interview, development and presentation phases) will help you to further your aims and bring you into contact with experts who may nevertheless support you.

The finale event takes place on the evening of 2nd December 2020.

Connections with Partners

Throughout the Awards process, you may have opportunities to liaise with different partners of the Bates Wells Foundation (including those listed on the Awards’ Partners page), who may offer you pro bono professional support and assistance. For example, the professional needs of shortlisted applicants are listed on the website; attendees at the Final Event will be invited to write “pledge cards” agreeing to provide particular assistance to applicants, in line with their areas of expertise. The Foundation endeavours to support applicants to network with partners and obtain such assistance, to help them to further charitable purposes. However, the Foundation and the Awards cannot guarantee a particular amount or duration of support from its partners, and this is something which applicants are encouraged to discuss with them when the offer of support is made.

Decisions Final

Decisions made in relation to the Awards by a judging selection panel and the Trustees of the Bates Wells Foundation are final and not subject to appeal.

Who’s Who?

Bates Wells Foundation is the charity that manages the Awards.  The trustees are Chetal Patel, Evelyn Smith, Jim Clifford OBE, Lorna Lloyd, Martin Bunch, Patrick Nash, Peter Bennett, Philip Kirkpatrick, Rosamund McCarthy and Stephanie Biden. Its charity number is 1150321. 

The Awards programme is led by Mona Rahman, Projects Lead for the Stephen Lloyd Awards and Bates Wells Foundation.

Awards’ network of supporters are partners who have committed support, either financially or through pro bono work. You can find a list of awards supporters here.