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FAQs

What is happening to Beacon now?

The Trustees of Beacon are committed to the Beacon goal of increasing the impact and extent of UK philanthropy. They have been working hard to develop a new approach for Beacon which builds on its considerable achievements and allows them to enrich and extend the work of the Fellowship.

The trustees have agreed a new way of working with Community Foundation Network (CFN) as from 1 April 2009. CFN is a registered charity committed to developing philanthropy particularly at a local community level.

The Beacon Fellowship network and awards will retain their separate identity and will be re-energised by association with community foundations, their regional and national events and their involvement in developing philanthropic practice, research and lobbying on policy.

We will be consulting Beacon Fellows over the next few months with a view to boosting the ‘network’ aspects of the fellowship. Later this year we will announce the next set of Beacon awards to be awarded in 2010.

For more information please keep your eye on this website.

What is Beacon?

The Beacon Fellowship Charitable Trust (Beacon) is a national charitable organisation, created to encourage individual contributions to charitable and social causes and to celebrate and showcase best practice in giving. It is the only scheme of its kind in the UK, and allows the charity sector to recognise formally those who make exceptional contributions to charity, whether through resources, time or specialist skills.

What is a Beacon Prize?

The Beacon Prize is an annual award scheme, set up to highlight and showcase exceptional contributions to charitable and social causes.

All winners are invited to join the Beacon Fellowship, a group which meets several times a year to bring its skills to bear on issues of relevance to the future of the voluntary sector. One overall winner receives a cash award to give to the charitable cause(s) of their choice.

When was the prize scheme begun?

Beacon was launched in April 2003. The 2008 Prize was the fifth to be awarded.

Who is behind the Beacon Prize scheme?

Beacon is the brainchild of David Charters and Emily Stonor. They developed the initiative in collaboration with a group of Principal and Strategic Partners, including The Cabinet Office, UBS, Vodafone, CAF, The Community Channel, Classic FM, Bell Pottinger, The Giving Campaign, Regus and Russell Investment Group.

What does Beacon aim to do?

The aims of Beacon are:

  • to highlight and honour contributions that have really made a difference

  • to inspire others to give

  • to set new standards of best practice in charitable work


ABOUT THE NOMINATION/JUDGING PROCESS

Can anyone nominate someone for the Beacon Prize?

Yes. Charities, voluntary and community organisations, companies and the general public may make a nomination by completing a nomination form and submitting it to Beacon. Nomination forms will be available from the Beacon website for 2009/2010.

Who is eligible for the Beacon Prize?

Individuals (or, exceptionally, couples) but not institutions, are eligible. Nominees must be resident in the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.

Is this a national awards system?

Yes, it is a national award scheme with National and Regional Prizes.

For each of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, the Judges will award a Prize to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution in any one of the 5 categories, and where the charitable efforts and results have been largely regional or national.

What are the Prize Categories?

Categories are likely to include:

  • The Beacon Prize for Leadership

  • The Beacon Prize for Community Builder

  • The Beacon Prize for New Initiatives

  • The Beacon Prize for Creative Giving

  • The Beacon Prize for Young Philanthropist

  • Judges' Special Prize

How does the judging process work?

All nominations are initially assessed by Beacon and a shortlist drawn up for each Prize Category, with the help of an independent panel of Scrutineers, made up of leading experts from the charity, media, financial and business sectors. The final selection is made by a panel of independent judges, at their sole discretion.

What are the criteria for the judges?

In awarding the Prizes, the independent panel of judges focus on the impact that the nominees' contributions have made. They seek to acknowledge and honour candidates:

  • Whose contribution can be perceived as an outstanding example for others

  • Who have developed creative and original approaches to solving problems that are capable of wider imitation and replication

  • Who show entrepreneurial spirit

  • Who have been willing to take risks

  • Who have demonstrated leadership

  • Who have been unusually responsive to the needs of the charity or cause concerned

  • Whose contributions are measurable, replicable, sustainable and supported by evidence

How is the prize money to be spent?

The Beacon monetary award is presented to the overall winner to donate to charitable causes of their choice. The money does not have to go to just one cause or be implemented immediately, but should be utilised within 90 days of the ceremony.

Is Beacon involved with the spending of the prize money?

Beacon will offer help and guidance, if required, in determining the most effective use of the prize money in innovative, creative ways, which may be held up as models of best practice and new thinking.

Will winners become Beacon Fellows and what will that involve?

All of our winners become lifelong Fellows of the Beacon Fellowship. They meet several times a year to address issues of relevance to the voluntary sector. The scope for the future development of the Fellowship has been deliberately left as flexible as possible to allow maximum scope for the Fellows themselves to develop it.

Do the winners have any duties they have to perform during the year?

The Fellowship is a voluntary body, but it is hoped that the Fellows will wish to use it as a forum for further focusing and developing their endeavours in the voluntary sector.

Is there a need for another award scheme in this sector?

There is no other scheme like Beacon. Beacon is the only award scheme that specifically focuses on giving.


THE BEACON FELLOWSHIP

What is the Beacon Fellowship?

All Beacon Prize Winners are invited to become life Fellows. The Fellowship is a forum of best practice for others and will allow Fellows to share their experiences. Over time it is hoped that the Fellowship will develop into a significant and influential force in the charitable sector.

How does the Fellowship work?

The Beacon Fellowship is managed by the Beacon Charitable Trust. Each year a suitable programme of events is developed. The focus of the programme is outward facing and highlights the Fellowship's core values of leadership, influence, celebration and inspiration.