Birmingham health charities win awards

Funding and development support prizes for wellbeing groups.

Two local charities have won a prestigious national award.

The Rape and Sexual Violence Project has been selected from more than 350 organisations from all over the UK to be one of the eight winners of the 2018 GSK IMPACT Awards, a national award that recognises charities doing excellent work to improve people’s health and wellbeing. The charity will receive £30,000 in funding as part of its prize, as well as expert support and development from The King’s Fund.

Now in its 40th year, RSVP supports people of all genders affected by sexual abuse through its counselling, group intervention, advocacy service and helpline, as well as offering specialist services for children. It is the only specialist support centre for victims of rape and sexual violence in Birmingham, and last year supported 5,330 survivors across all their services. It reached all sections of the community, including people from the LGBT community, refugees and asylum seekers.

Survivors are supported through trauma-informed services, that are holistic, practical and therapeutic. Support is provided for survivors to access sexual health and to pursue criminal justice or civil action. The charity have experienced a 40 per cent increase in need for their services in the last year.

RSVP’s services have a big impact in helping victims of all types of sexual trauma, with 86 per cent of adults and 91 per cent of children saying the service increased their ability to cope with the effect of their trauma.

Katie Pinnock, Director of UK and Ireland Charitable Partnerships at GSK, said: “RSVP is doing incredibly important work helping victims of sexual abuse come to terms with their experience and the charity’s work is having a real impact.

“Some of the stand-out things about this charity are that it has been able to reach into all sectors of the community and has also coped with a big increase in demand for its services while at the same time continuing to deliver high-quality services for the people it supports.”

Lisa Thompson, Chief Executive of RSVP, adedd: “We are absolutely delighted and proud that in our 40th year of supporting abuse survivors, we have won such a well-respected award. We hope it will increase our profile and that more organisations will want to partner with us, but most importantly we hope it raises awareness of our services among the survivors of sexual abuse who need them.

“Our funding has grown over the past few years, but given the big increase in the number of people who need support we need to continue this growth. We hope that winning a GSK IMPACT Award can help take us to the next level.”

Also winning an IMPACT award was Birmingham LGBT, which runs a wide range of services to support LGBT people, who have higher rates of mental anxiety, substance use disorders and suicidal behaviour compared to the general population. Last year its Wellbeing Centre in Birmingham city centre had more than 7,000 visits, more than half of which were for its sexual health services. It has a particular focus on targeting sections of the LGBT community who might not otherwise access services, including LGBT refugees, homeless people and older people who are isolated or victims of domestic violence.

The charity has a good record of working with other charities and health providers, and has been invited by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust to be one of the partners for Umbrella, the UK’s largest sexual health contract. It also builds leaders within the LGBT community through its Leadership Academy, which is open to people who are LGBT or running services for LGBT people.

Katie Pinnock said: “Given that LGBT people have higher rates of mental health problems and can sometimes find it harder to access health services, Birmingham LGBT is doing much-needed work in offering a wide range of support for this community.

“The judging panel was particularly impressed by the great efforts Birmingham LGBT has made to support some of the most marginalised LBGT communities, and this has helped maximise its impact.”

Stephanie Keeble, Director of Birmingham LGBT, added,“We are delighted to have won this award, as it is fantastic recognition of the work we have done in supporting LGBT people in Birmingham. In particular, it is great that the judges have highlighted our work in supporting some of the most vulnerable people, in particular, as this is a key focus for us.

‘We are also excited about the potential of the award to take us to the next level, both in terms of the financial contribution and the leadership development, and so enable us to do even more to support those who rely on our services.”

Developing leaders in the charity sector is an important aim of the GSK IMPACT Awards programme, which has now been running for more than 20 years, and the winners will have access to training and leadership development tailored to their needs.