Dartmouth Caring won the ‘Small is Beautiful’ Award at the inaugural South West Impact Awards yesterday. The awards were organised by South West Forum to recognise the work of social purpose organisations in measuring and communicating the difference they make. They are the first awards of their kind in the UK and were presented by Dame Suzi Leather at a reception after the ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’ conference in Bristol.

Dame Suzi, Chair of the Lankelly Chase Foundation and a former Chair of the Charity Commission explained, “For a charity, measuring impact is the way to show you are delivering your charitable purpose and is also the way to show commissioners, funders, beneficiaries, supporters, regulators and policy makers that you are making a difference to people’s lives. Evidencing impact not only helps organisations improve their services but is likely to make them more sustainable, efficient and effective. Show-casing how it can be done well, regardless of organisational size, is hugely helpful. Hats off to South West Forum for providing this learning and encouragement.”

Dartmouth Caring is a local charity committed to helping the elderly and vulnerable of Dartmouth and the surrounding villages such as Dittisham, Stoke Fleming, Blackawton and Strete, working closely with the medical and care services to ensure we help people remain independent in times of need. Judges were impressed by the work of this small organisation to identify the difference they make, in order to enable learning within the organisation and amongst other stakeholders and to identify the financial value in terms of public sector cost savings of their work.

Alison Stocks, Manager & Coordinator of Dartmouth Caring, said “We work very hard with a small group of staff and our volunteers to provide a comprehensive service and well informed support to those in need in our locality. We are resolving more and more complex scenarios for clients in times of change and reform, plus many are unable to deal with a more and more computerised world. At all times we try and convey accurately the help and outcomes we achieve but this also takes time and effort. This award is a great bonus in recognition of what we do and also how we try to effectively monitor and show our results to those who donate funds to us. We really appreciate receiving it from the South West Forum.”

Dee Nutt, Chair of Dartmouth Caring, added “I am overwhelmed, this is such an honour to all our staff, volunteers and partners within the community we serve. Our aim is to support and empower individuals so they can live in a way that they wish and proactively.”

Other local winners Devon Community Foundation won the Impact Leader Award and Plymouth Music Zone won the Best Overall Impact Award.

The awards were sponsored by Charity Bank. Commenting on their importance of, Chapman Harrison, Charity Bank’s Regional Manager for the South West and a member of the judging panel said “Every organisation which has received an award has been acknowledged as an early-adopter of business practices that place the emphasis on evidencing social impact. It is natural for Charity Bank to support the Forum awards initiative because they are exactly in line with our own approach. But measuring impact is not just for funders. We are pleased to see organisations, large and small, using impact measurement to help them understand, evaluate and increase their positive impact on society.”