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 2021 Awards closes at midnight on 31 August).

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.

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.

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 [email protected] marked for the attention of Mona Rahman.

Application Acceptance Period

The 2021 Awards programme will accept new applicant entries from 16 June 2021.  Applications will close at midnight 31 August 2021.

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 interviews, based on the overall scores resulting from the above initial assessment.

The judging and shortlisting period takes place between 1 and 22 September 2021.

Our full 2021 Awards timeline is as follows:

• 16 June – Awards open for new entries
• 31 August (midnight) – Deadline for online submissions
• 1-22 September  – Judging Period
• 14 and 15 October – Interviews (by invitation only)
• 20 October – Shortlist of Finalists Announced and Development Phase
• 17 November – Awards Finale Event

Selection for Interviews

Selection for interviews are by invitation only, following the initial assessment process. We would expect around 20 applicants to proceed to this interview stage.  Interviews will be conducted 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.

Interviews will take place on 14th and 15th October.  Please keep both days free.

Development Phase

We expect the telephone interview process to result in a final 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 for four 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 a live or virtual judging event in London, subject to the latest government recommendations surrounding Covid-19.

Presentations at Final Event

At the end of the Development Phase, you will present to the Awards’ network at an evening event on 17 November 2021. 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 will take place on the evening of 17th November.

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, Rosamund McCarthy Etherington 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.