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Frances Crook's blog · 8 Jul 2021

Reasons to make a nomination to the Howard League Community Awards

Guest blog by Gerry Marshall, Trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform and Chair of the Community Awards

Gerry MarshallThis is the last call for people to make a nomination to the 2021 Howard League for Penal Reform Community Awards. Every year that I have sat on the panel I have been inspired – and daunted – by the dozens and dozens of impressive nominations, in terms of their effectiveness, their commitment, their originality, their compassion, their breadth and variety. What we also know is that there are plenty more schemes and programmes out there that deserve the recognition and publicity and profile that winning one of our awards can bring.

There are so many good reasons to make a nomination.

  • Celebrate your own organisation: you can tell your staff, your service users, your colleagues, your supporters and stakeholders and your community that you are proud of the important work that you are doing to reduce crime and curtail people’s involvement in crime – this could be at a very local level or at a national level
  • Highlight the effectiveness of a programme: let those involved in specific programmes know just how important their work is, whether it is because it is original and innovative, or because it is being done well, either by volunteers or by paid staff, and you think their quality and qualities deserve recognition; it might have a restorative approach, or it might be trauma informed; or it might be a partnership that breaks down silos and enables better access to services
  • Draw wider attention to a new way of working: this may involve an apparently small or niche group of recipients, but you may have cottoned on to an issue that others have not thought of addressing, or not in that way, or that might challenge some of the ways in which people have previously worked
  • Support the development and expansion of best practice: this might cover outreach work with women, or changes in approach to reduce the criminalisation of children in care, where further progress is still required to shift the way the system operates
  • Pay tribute to another organisation: maybe one that you admire and respect, or help to fund, and you want to tell them how much you value what they are doing, and how you want to go public about their work and tell a much wider audience about them and what they are achieving
  • Nominate an individual: this could be a colleague whose work and skill and commitment you admire, it could be a leader whose example and achievement you think deserves praise, or it might be someone with lived experience of the criminal justice system who is now using their experience for the benefit of others

You can find more about the Community Awards, past winners and examples of best practice on here.

The press too often focuses on imprisonment as the visible face of criminal justice. The work that is being done in our communities to reduce crime and its effects and reduce criminalisation is far too rarely mentioned or recognised or celebrated, particularly when the pandemic has highlighted so much extra pressure on services and extra need for those who were already disadvantaged and often unheard.

The Howard League for Penal Reform Community Awards seeks to redress this imbalance.

Don’t be shy or modest. Nominate now.

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