Press release

Hope UK receives the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award

Hope UK, has been awarded the Big Society Award for the work it has done training volunteers to become drug educators in communities across the UK. External site: [Big Society Awards]( External site: [Hope UK](

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

Hope UK, a London-based charity, has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award for the work it has done training volunteers to become drug educators in communities across the UK. The award was given to Hope UK in recognition of the impact their mobilisation has had on youth and communities.

Volunteers are trained with a 120-hour course including three practical training weekends. Working with children and young people in schools, youth groups, and faith groups these Drug Educators provide interactive educational sessions about alcohol, tobacco and drug misuse.

Hope UK’s achievements to date include:

  • Having trained hundreds of volunteers across the UK since HOPE UK’s launch 17 years ago.
  • 200 voluntary Drug Educators currently working actively with HOPE UK.
  • Drug Educators and staff having carried out nearly 1,800 interactive drug and alcohol awareness sessions across the country in the last year.

Congratulating Hope UK on the award, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Hope UK is an important initiative going in to schools and other young people’s groups to try and prevent drug and alcohol-related harm through education on their effects. The commitment shown by volunteers in undertaking a long training programme before they begin to start working with young people is particularly impressive and it is a credit to the team at Hope UK that they currently have 200 volunteers working around the country.

As well as helping young people to make positive choices it helps to build links within communities as local people work with groups in their area. I wish Hope UK all the best in continuing to grow and extend their services to even more young people around the country.

Accepting the award Sarah Brighton, Chief Executive Officer at Hope UK said:

We are honoured to receive the Big Society Award and would like to thank our volunteers and supporters for making this possible.

Hope UK’s sessions include life skills that enhance peer resistance and build confidence and are designed to encourage healthy choices and enable children and young people to realise their potential.

Notes to Editors

For more information on Hope UK

Media contact: Mrs Marolin Watson, Business Manager: 020 7928 0848, Email Marolin Watson

Further information: Hope UK was established in 1855 as the UK Band of Hope Union and has an unbroken history of work with children and young people. Its methods have changed with the times, but volunteers have always been central to its service delivery. In that sense, it has always been a part of the Big Society.

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

Forty-three winners have been announced to date including:

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.

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.

Volunteer it Yourself - London - enables young people to gain accredited building and DIY skills by working, under the guidance of local professional tradespeople, to fix and refurbish local youth centres in need of essential repairs.

For a full list of winners visit

Published 3 October 2012