Kent Charity Awards Winners and finalists!

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air ambulance

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex scoops Kent Charity of the Year accolade

On Thursday 9th September charities from across Kent came together to celebrate the 6th Kent Charity Awards.  The setting for this year’s awards was the magnificent Rochester Cathedral, which is England’s second oldest Cathedral and the perfect backdrop to reward Kent’s amazing charities and their volunteers and trustees.

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) were crowned Kent Charity of the Year 2021 and received a standing ovation for their dedication and hard work in saving lives 24 yours a day, 265 days a year.  They also took home an award for Large Charity of the Year.

David Welch, CEO, KSS said, “We are incredibly proud to have won the Kent Charity Award 2021 in the Large Charity category and very honoured that the judges selected us as their Charity of the Year. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone at Team KSS for their dedication and hard work, ensuring we are able to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients. Our outstanding achievements over the last year would not have been possible without our amazing staff, trustees, volunteers and fundraisers.

We are so grateful to everyone for the overwhelming support we have received over the last year – winning this award is a fantastic endorsement of the valuable role we play in the Kent community and beyond.”

KSS provide world-class pre-hospital life-saving emergency medical care and despite the challenges faced over the last year, they remained operational 24/7 whilst also extending their service to support the NHS, transferring critically ill Coronavirus patients between Intensive Care Units (ICUs) as and when required.

Now in its Sixth year, The Kent Charity awards was staggered and delighted by the great diversity of charities there are in Kent helping make the lives of others better.  The quality of entries from large and small organisations from all corners of the county gets higher each year, making the selection process a huge challenge for the judges.

Susan Robinson, Partner at Kreston Reeves and the KCAs Head Judge said: “The last 18 months has been an incredibly challenging time on many fronts. Charities have stepped up to meet these challenges head on, adapting the way they deliver and provide extra services, at the same time as having to provide additional support to their own teams. This was very apparent from the entries that we received, making it very hard to select our 2021 finalists.

Collaboration has also been key to this period between charities and working with the local councils and funders. It has very much been a team effort and I hope this can continue as we move forward. I said last time how humble and inspired we felt, this was even more the case this year when we were reading all the submissions.

However, well done to all our finalists and winners, your success is well deserved.

Category winners

A Special Recognition Award was presented to The Hygiene Bank, a charity which identified a very serious concern and failing in our society today. Founder Lizzy has done an outstanding job at raising awareness about hygiene poverty and working with established brands to make a local charity something that is now nationally recognised.

CEO Edgar Penollar, “We were truly humbled to be honoured with a Special Recognition Award at the Kent Charity Awards 2021. The Trustees of The Hygiene Bank dedicate the award to all our volunteers in Kent, and across the UK, who have stepped up over the past 18 months to support those of us experiencing hygiene poverty, as we find more and more people in need or in crisis at this time.”

Volunteer of the Year Award went to Elaine Barnett from Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services.  Elaine uses her pre-retirement skills to help support the team by reducing the admin they must do. Support work is often undervalued but is crucial to ensuring a charity runs well and can deliver.

Trustee of the Year was awarded to Geoff Willcox from Maidstone Mediation and Reparation Scheme (MMS) who brought his existing skills to MMS helping them to modernise the charity and has helped empower the staff. His mantra is to encourage and challenge.


The full list of our 2021 winners are as follows:

Kent Charity of the Year

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex – Winner


Special Recognition Award

The Hygiene Bank –      Winner


Care Charity of the Year

Crossroads Care Kent – Winner

Carers First

Abigail’s Footsteps

Hypo Hounds


Children’s Charity of the Year

We Are Beams – Winner

Child’s Vision

Children & Families Ltd

Dandelion Time


Disability and Mental Health Charity of the Year

West Kent Mind – Winner

Kent Association for the Blind

Mid Kent Mind

Bright Shadow


Community Charity / Project of the Year

Sateda – Winner

Catching Lives

Dover Smart Project

Folkestone Youth Project


Best Use of Social Media and Technology

Pilgrims Hospices – Winner

Find a Voice

Dads Unlimited

Curly’s Legacy

The Hygiene Bank


Best Use of Volunteers

One Big Family – Winner

The Young Lives Foundation

Nourish Community Foodbank

Louie’s Helping Hands


Large Charity of the Year

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex – Winner




Animal, Environment & Wildlife

Kent Wildlife Trust –     Winner

The Big Cat Sanctuary

Brogdale Collections

Wildwood Trust



Curly’s Legacy – Winner

The Hygiene Bank

Dads Unlimited


Volunteer of the Year

Elaine Barnett – Winner

Lorraine Foster

Karen Dhanecha

Victoria Golding


Trustee of the Year

Geoff Willcox  – Winner

Sally Howells

Kate Bosley

Joan Morris


Robert Grew, Events Manager at Pilgrims Hospices said, “We’re delighted and honoured to have received the award for ‘Best Use of Social Media and Technology’ at the Kent Charity Awards 2021, in recognition of Pilgrims Hospices innovative use of technology throughout the pandemic in creating new ways for supporters to stay connected during an unprecedented time.

We felt it was important to not simply turn existing fundraising events virtual, but to take the opportunity to introduce brand new digital fundraising activities that could continue into future years once normal events could resume. From our range of virtual hikes, cycles and festive family walks that used the free Pilgrims Hospices Events App to help people stay active during lockdown, to our online remembrance films that brought the celebration of so many loved ones into the homes of thousands across east Kent and beyond. These digital initiatives gave supporters meaningful ways to feel part of the Pilgrims family from the safety of their homes since March 2020 and have collectively raised more than £200,000 for local hospice care!

The receipt of this award means so much to the whole team at Pilgrims and stands as a huge thank you to our wonderful community of supporters whose enthusiasm and generosity enable us to be there for thousands of families across east Kent who are living with a life-limiting illness, now and in the future.”

The Kent Charity Awards were founded by Jo Hage and Sarah MacDonald of Rise Communications.  As event managers for several key business awards across the county they realised there wasn’t a single, countywide award scheme aimed at the third sector and wanted to do something to honour the commitment and hard work charities and voluntary groups do across Kent.

The event could only take place because of the support of its sponsors – The KM Media Group, Medway Council, Kent County Council, Kreston Reeves, Diggerland, CC Works, Kent Community Foundation, CAF Bank, Financial Advice and Services, Amey and Brachers.

kent charity awards winner 2021