Press release

CALLplus patient charity wins Prime Minister's Big Society Award

Manchester-based charity working to improve the lives of people living with cancer and other illnesses is the latest winner of the Big Society Awards.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

CALLplus offers free emotional support and practical help to patients in the Greater Manchester area. Through their network of trained volunteers, CALLplus works with those affected by life-limiting illnesses and those closest to them. The charity, which was first started 30 years ago, offers patients the chance to talk in confidence over the phone or in person about their condition, their worries, concerns or fears. CALLplus also helps to make life easier for patients by providing practical help such as home visits, transport to and from hospital appointments and even helping with shopping.

From their local offices in Salford, Trafford, Miles Platting and Wythenshawe, the charity also organises social occasions and excursions to help patients manage their illness. The charity now employs six staff across its offices who between them train, organise and support more than 200 volunteers.

Congratulating CALLplus on their award, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I would like to praise and thank the volunteers at CALL for their utter dedication to helping local people.

Their care for patients around Greater Manchester just shows the compassionate heart of Big Society; people giving crucial emotional support to others in the most traumatic and testing times of their lives.

There is no doubt about it; this is tough work and very hard for the volunteers, but their selfless support is immeasurably important to others. This charity is a wonderful example of the giving nature of the British people and I wish them every success for the future.

Accepting the award, David Lambert, Chair of CALLplus, said:

It gives me great pleasure to accept this award on behalf of everyone at CALLplus, particularly as we are celebrating our 30th year of operation. A national award, personally approved by the Prime Minister, means so much to a small, local charity such as ours. It is recognition that we have been doing the right thing for our communities all these years and through the continuing hard work of our staff and volunteers hope to do so for many more to come.

Lynne Kemble is one of the many patients who has benefited from CALLplus’ support. She said:

I don’t know what I would do without support from CALLplus. They take me to hospital treatments, help with my shopping and take me to the social group. This support means a great deal to me, especially the chance to socialise. CALLplus provides a good package, it’s brilliant. All the volunteers who have supported me have been so kind and helpful. I can’t fault the service.

As well as having a big impact on the lives of the patient, illnesses like cancer can also affect family members, friends and work colleagues. CALLplus is aware of the issues facing people caring for others who are ill and also provides free support for them as they try to understand and help the people they care about.

Notes to Editors

For more info on CALL

For press enquiries contact: Karen Mercer, CALL Plus 07762 126254 or

On the Big Society Awards:

The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrates the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.

The award focuses upon three specific areas:

  • Promoting social action - people being, and being encouraged to be, be more involved in their communities through giving time, money and other resources.
  • Empowering communities - local people taking control of how things are done in their area and being helped to do this by local government and others.
  • Opening up public services - public sector organisations and individuals demonstrating innovative ways of delivering public services and charities, social enterprises and private companies showing new ways of delivering public services.

Launching the awards, the Prime Minister said:

There are some amazing projects and remarkable voluntary work going on in towns and cities up and down the country, by all kinds of organisations from large enterprises to tiny grassroots schemes and inspirational individuals.

These awards are a chance to pay tribute to those making a valuable contribution to their community, the real champions of the Big Society, but perhaps more importantly, I hope they will motivate many others to take action, get involved and drive change in their area.

Nominations come in from the general public after which there follows a process of scoring and short-listing by officials and a further short-listing by a Panel of Ministers and independent external experts. This Panel makes recommendations to the Prime Minister who then presents the final award. Around twelve winners are decided each quarter meeting and then announced throughout the year.

For more information visit Big Society Awards

More than forty winners have been announced to date:

Name Description

Make a Difference South East - a project that inspires young people in Milton Keynes to better their lives and those around them through positive action and volunteering

Why Not Change North West - a social enterprise which builds the confidence and capability of individuals and organisations to make a positive difference

HERO North West - a project that inspires an enterprise culture amongst young people in Blackpool and beyond

Food Cycle London - a project that brings together young volunteers, surplus food and free kitchen space to create nutritious meals for people affected by food poverty in the UK

Biddick Hall Community Focus Group North East - a project that has transformed the community through local action on health, crime, employment and activities for young people

Altogether Better Yorks & Humber - a programme involving volunteer Community Health Champions engaging with communities to help them lead healthier lifestyles

Greenwich Leisure Limited London - a social enterprise that manages over 70 public leisure centres in partnership with 20 councils across the South East

Kendray Initiative Yorks & Humber - a project that has transformed the community through local action on housing, crime, employment and activities for young people

CREATE Yorks & Humber - a not-for-profit company which delivers innovative training and employment opportunities for people who have been homeless, marginalised or vulnerable

Central Surrey Health South East - a social enterprise providing community nursing and therapy services on behalf of NHS Surrey and other partners

The Old Vic Tunnels South East - A unique performance space offering opportunities for young people to gain experience in production and be part of an innovative and diverse arts venue

Shelley Community Association Yorks - Shelley Community Association, a voluntary organisation that represents and brings together village residents

The Sweet Project A social enterprise that develops and trains students while supporting families in deprived areas

Bevendean Local Action Team A volunteer run initiative that aims to reduce anti-social behaviour and promote pride in their local community

Disability Challengers South East - A children’s charity offering exciting activities and play opportunities for disabled children and young people

Higher Croft Action Group North West - A group of volunteers making a difference to the lives of young people in Blackburn

Wotton under Edge Swimming Pool South West - Wotton under Edge Swimming Pool Club, a group of volunteer swimming enthusiasts who mobilised the whole community in support of their local pool

Christine Gibson East - An individual who brought together people from her community and worked with her housing association to make a real difference to her fellow residents

Digi Steps South West - a social enterprise run by school pupils who wanted to share their internet and computer skills with senior citizens in their area

Anfield Breckside Community Council North  West - an umbrella group that works with 14 residents associations, linking different groups together, providing training and advice, assisting with securing funding, helping the community with planning and regeneration and resolving issues such as anti-social behaviour

The Children’s Forum South East - offering children the chance to play an active role in developing and improving local services for young people

The Welcome North West - a community centre which has been providing activities and vital services for the local community in Knutsford for over 15 years

Magic Breakfast National A charity dedicated to ensuring every child starts the school day with the right breakfast

Orange RockCorps National - inspires people to volunteer within their community by producing concerts for which you can’t buy a ticket as a reward

Blacon Community Trust North West - a social enterprise in Chester offering a wide range of community-based activities and services, all focused on ‘Building a better Blacon’

Sports Traider/Lance Haggith East - Lance Haggith runs a chain of charity sports shops offering affordable sporting goods and employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed and ex-offenders 

Mitzvah Day National - a national day of social action where thousands of people take part in hands on projects top support charities and build stronger communities

Creation Development Trust Wales - a social enterprise set up to revitalise the local area in Bridgend which has become the largest timebanking scheme in Europe

UBS Bridge Academy London - The UBS Bridge Academy partnership, where UBS employees work with the Academy to support and inspire students

Gateway 97.8 East - a community radio station in Basildon which aims to enrich the lives of young people and to tackle anti social behaviour

Waitrose Community Matters Scheme National - an innovative scheme which allows shoppers to choose three charitable causes each month to receive a £1,000 donation from their store by voting at the check-out and has given over £10 million to good causes

Social Media Surgeries West Midlands - Nick Booth started up ‘social media surgeries’ to help local community groups to make the most of the internet to support their work.  He developed this into a network of experts helping groups all over the country.

Linklaters LLP ‘Learn for Work’ London - employees of the law firm go in to local schools to help give children the aspirations, skills and experience they need to fulfil their potential

Christian Nightlife Initiative National - a community group that has helped to reclaim no-go areas of their town once blighted by binge drinking through night-time weekend patrols by volunteers

Cool2Care Nationwide - Social Enterprise helping parents of disabled children to recruit fully screened and trained Personal Assistants

BT National - employee volunteering scheme which offers all staff three days of work time a year to volunteer in an activity of their choice with over 49,000 days of time donated in the 2011 financial year

Serve East Midlands - a local charity which provides care and support services in the Northampton area to around 60,000 vulnerable older people and adults with disabilities including; day and home care, community transport and hospital after care

City Gateway Tower Hamlets, London - provides training to disadvantaged young people and women to help them progress towards employment and higher education

The Glenmore Trust North Cumbria - provides a range of support services for people with learning and physical disabilities

Cherry Orchard Gardening Service Staffordshire-based social enterprise Cherry Orchard Gardening Service (COGS), which enables local disabled people to maintain the gardens of elderly residents

Updates to this page

Published 15 October 2012