The CSJ Awards 2023

The CSJ Awards exist to ensure that the voices of those working to tackle poverty around the country are heard by decision makers in Westminster.

About the CSJ Awards

The CSJ Awards is an annual event to showcase, celebrate, and reward the very best grassroots charities and social enterprises from local communities throughout the UK. These organisations have developed effective and innovative ways of addressing entrenched social issues, and work with some of the hardest to reach people in the UK.

The CSJ Awards exist to ensure that those working to tackle poverty around the country are heard by decision makers in Westminster. Previous winners have helped to tackle modern slavery, rehabilitate ex-offenders, improve educational outcomes in deprived areas, and bring isolated older people back into the community.

The impact of winning a CSJ Award is long-lasting and helps these organisations to grow and widen the reach of their inspirational work. Previous winners have been profiled on prime-time television, had their services rolled out in every school across the country, and secured over half a million pounds in additional funding as a result of the exposure that the CSJ Awards gave them.

How have Award winners been chosen?

Every year, the CSJ team combs the country to identify the most outstanding, innovative, and effective organisations who fight poverty on the frontline. We look for charities that help the hardest to reach, inspire us with their impact, and have discovered ways of scaling their work beyond their own neighbourhood. A team of judges, with a wealth of experience across a wide range of sectors, come together to select the winners.


What do we award?

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and philanthropists, each winner will receive a cash prize of £20,000 (doubled from last year) and their work showcased in front of an influential audience of politicians, philanthropists, journalists, celebrities, and policy makers. The platform we provide has been transformational for previous winners.

Please let us know if you feel you can help our Award winners. You can also help to raise the profile of their work by tweeting about the Awards using #CSJAwards.

Click here to see the full list of shortlisted charities

CSJ Award winner: The Recruitment Junction

What they do:

A brilliant small charity in the North East of England working in prisons and in the community to help people find meaningful, sustained work. The Recruitment Junction believes that finding work helps people with convictions rediscover a sense of purpose, lifts them out of poverty, and drives positive cross-generational impact for affected families – all while significantly lowering the re-offending rate.

The charity’s activities also benefits local businesses by addressing skills shortages and thereby reducing regional unemployment. Founded in October 2020, The Recruitment Junction has so far placed 490 candidates into paid employment. The trust developed with local businesses means that employers are willing to hire individuals many would consider high risk. The Recruitment Junction takes a long-term approach by supporting people into paid employment and then continuing to offer that support to both candidate and employer. The charity also runs ‘Inside Job’ which focuses on preparing those in prison for jobs when they are released.



  • 67% of candidates supported find work and 72% still in work after 6 months
  • Only 2% of the people they place in jobs reoffend compared to 24% of all ex-offenders nationally

Why they won a CSJ Award:

The Recruitment Junction has a strong sense of identity and a clear sense of purpose. As part of our visit, the CSJ team spoke to service users and the impact it has had on their lives was obvious and tangible. They talked about a sense of self that was restored through gainful employment, routine, social interactions and a sense of purpose.

Watch Video : The Recruitment Junction

CSJ Award winner: Children Heard and Seen

What they do:

Children Heard and Seen supports children, young people and their families who are impacted by parental imprisonment. 65% of boys with a parent in prison go on to offend. However, this is not a predetermined outcome and with support, intergenerational offending can be prevented. Children Heard and Seen aim to break the cycle of intergenerational offending. The charity offers a specialised, tailored package of support.

They create a solid foundation prior to a parent’s release enabling children to have a safe space to articulate their feelings and views. There is a staggering shortage of data about the children of prisoners, which the charity is seeking to address. In collaboration with Thames Valley Police, they have deployed a data model that identifies the children of offenders as the parent enters prison. This allows for early intervention, ensuring comprehensive support from the outset. This collaboration exemplifies the charity’s commitment to addressing underlying issues and providing holistic support to the families they serve.



  • 850+ children supported since inception, only four have gone on to commit an offence
  • In a recent survey, 100% of children self-reported an increase in emotional wellbeing after the charity’s interventions

Why they won a CSJ Award:

The judges were impressed by the charity’s provision of community- based support, their innovative programmes, and their commitment to addressing root causes. The charity’s tireless efforts to support families impacted by parental incarceration and their focus on breaking the cycle of offending make Children Heard and Seen an exceptional charity deserving of recognition. Children Heard and Seen want every child with a parent in prison to be identified and receive appropriate support if they wish to. This would in turn reduce the social stigma that is currently associated with parental imprisonment. Ultimately, the charity would like its model of identification and support to be replicated and implemented across England.

Watch Video : Children Heard and Seen.

CSJ Award winner: The Oasis Centre Community Project

What they do:

The Oasis Centre is at the heart of Gorton, one of Manchester’s most poverty-stricken areas, and in the bottom 1% of deprivation nationally. It is open 5 days a week providing hot meals, activities, education and training, a work club, and practical crisis support. The charity is trusted, valued and appreciated by the local community and its staff go by the mantra: “If you’ve got a heartbeat, Oasis will help you.”

They offer three programmes: 1) Crisis support, which provides support for vulnerable people who find themselves in crisis with complex needs; 2) Work club, a place where people can find support and encouragement to find work; 3) Next step volunteers, volunteer programmes in the kitchen and onsite shop, designed for those who access the services already but wish to take that next step in life. Oasis has ambitions for a second location in their community to provide support for even more people who are disadvantaged and isolated.



  • In the past 12 months, Oasis has dealt with 4,840 crisis issues. 15% were related to housing, 12.5% were related to welfare/ benefits, and 10% are related to immigration questions
  • Its programmes deliver statistically significant improvement in wellbeing, self-regulation and social skills. A further 71% show improved resilience.
  • In the past 12 months, the charity has had 410 people attend its work club and 57 people have found work. That’s more than one every week of the year

Why they won a CSJ Award:

The Oasis model clearly works. The services were packed when the CSJ team visited, with a full classroom of learners, stacks of people receiving job support, and 6 case working stations fully operational. Their staff and volunteers are all well trained in de- escalation, crisis support, health and safety, and more. They take a person-centred and trauma-informed approach to working to ensure their clients’ needs are met.

Find out more:

Victoria Armstrong, Founder


Watch Video : The Oasis Centre

CSJ Award winner: Power2

What they do:

Power2 supports vulnerable children and young people to improve their wellbeing so they can thrive and reach their full potential. Their work is targeted at those living in poverty with social, emotional and mental health challenges. They support young people by helping them identify their strengths, address challenges, and develop skills.

The charity’s early intervention programmes provide intensive engagement to build positive relationships and affect change before long-term negative outcomes become inevitable. Power2 offers many programmes which allow young people to get the support that suits them best. Their ‘Teens and Toddlers’ programme improves young people’s wellbeing through the experience of mentoring nursery children. During a CSJ visit, one teen expressed how in just 3 weeks, she already felt calmer in school.



  • Supports over 1,200 participants annually and over the last two years, 77% have improved in self-esteem, 81% in confidence, and 75% were less shy and withdrawn
  • Through the Power2 rediscover programme 90% reported improved wellbeing; 53% had improved school engagement; and 60% improved academically
  • Through the Power2 thrive programme: 83% improved their school attendance; 95% reported improved self-esteem

Why they won a CSJ Award:

The CSJ visit team was impressed by Power2’s model, the strength of its staff team, and the clarity and rigour of their future plans for expansion. Their ultimate goal is to negotiate the threat of exclusion before it develops. As the organisation expands across the country, the CSJ team is confident it will bring vital intervention to the most vulnerable pupils.

Find out more:

Julie Randles, CEO


Watch Video : Power2

CSJ Chairman’s Award winner: Siobhan’s Trust

About the Chairman’s Award:

This year we are presenting a special Chairman’s Award and a prize of £30,000 to honour a charity that has gone above and beyond in alleviating hardship. Directed by our Chairman, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, this award sits separate from the main charity winners.

The Chairman’s Award 2023 goes to Siobhan’s Trust, a charity that provides much- needed food and support in Ukraine to those suffering as a result of the Russian invasion.

What they do:

Siobhan’s Trust uprooted itself from its home in Scotland to provide pizzas and practical support to Ukrainians traumatised by the Russian invasion of their homeland.

Starting from one static feeding station on the Polish-Ukrainian border, it now feeds 4,000 refugees every day via pizza trucks that venture out across the whole country. The Siobhan’s Trust team has run its mobile feeding stations (usually for three or four days at a time) in Kharkiv, Odesa, Izium & Mykolaiv and many other smaller towns & villages in the East of the country, often close to the frontline. Its presence in these locations is crucial as these are the most deprived communities and often no-go areas for NGOs and larger charities.

Hungry families are fed, and whilst pizzas are cooked music
is played, there is dancing, and balls are thrown and kicked around with the children. Those it feeds are invariably the most vulnerable, often living in squalid conditions without water, gas or electricity. They are displaced, on constant alert, worn down by war, exhausted and fearful of the future. The charity’s volunteers engage, listen, sing, laugh, cry, support and show love towards people who are endlessly scared and anxious.

Watch Video : Siobhan’s Trust

Sign up to the CSJ mailing list to receive our regular newsletter,
the latest reports, and be the first to hear about our upcoming events.