For one night each year, an eclectic group of people gather in Westminster at a star-studded celebration. Members of Parliament, recovered drug addicts, CEOs, Lords and Dames, ex-offenders and wealthy philanthropists mingle and meet. Westminster is turned upside down at the CSJ Awards as celebrities and MPs cheer on some usually invisible heroes—men and women from the length and breadth of Britain who are actively confronting the most challenging social problems that we face.
A man named John takes troubled young people off the streets of Liverpool and takes them to a local nursing home where they build friendships with lonely older people.
A woman named Noreen who has beaten her own addictions, gives others a chance to do the same, regardless of whether or not they can afford expensive rehab.
In London, Jocelyn Hillman runs a recruitment agency with a difference. She advocates for women who have come out of prison, helping them into work and giving them a fresh start.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.’ The CSJ Awards celebrate people who are courageously facing the darkness they see around them, and offering people a pathway out of it.
This year’s CSJ Awards are now open for applications. We are looking for community-based charities and voluntary groups from throughout the UK that are preventing poverty or helping people caught in damaging situations to turn their lives around. Winning organisations will receive a £10,000 cash award and will be honoured at the 2013 celebration which will be held in November. Please spread the word about the Awards! If you know of any excellent, innovative initiatives, tell them to apply. Applications close on Friday, 28 June 2013, more information can be found here:http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/awards.
Scattered throughout Britain are many remarkable people who give us enormous reason for hope. They remind us that transformation is always possible; that no person can ever be written off.