Celebrating the best change-

makers and the most

successful campaigns

Each year, SMK celebrates the best campaigns and campaigners – whether working locally or nationally, and from individuals and community groups to people working in large organisations. Our interest is in finding those who have made change happen – most effectively, creatively and courageously.

The SMK National Campaigner Awards is where we bring the campaign community together to champion and celebrate campaigning, demonstrating its value and acknowledging success.

Nominations for the 2020 National Campaigner Awards are now closed. Thank you to everyone who nominated.

Judges

Each year SMK invites a diverse and experienced group of people to be judges of the Awards from across civil society including campaigners, activists, previous award winners, senior charity managers and leaders. We are grateful for all the hard work our judging panel puts into the selection process.

Sarah Thomas

Suhan Rajkumar

Associate, Bates Wells

Suhan is a lawyer in the Charity and Social Enterprise team at Bates Wells, where he advises a wide range of charities and other not-for-profits on creating positive social impact.

Read more
He has a particular passion for advising campaigners – including charities, local stakeholders and political parties – seeking to influence law and public policy. Outside of work, Suhan is a trustee of two charities: CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers), and Bail for Immigration Detainees.
Sarah Thomas

Zino Onokaye

Project Assistant, On Road Media

Zino supports the delivery of their projects, specifically Media Movers. She initially joined On Road in 2018 as part of the Media Movers community.

Read more
Zino graduated with a BA in Psychology from St Mary’s University. Due to her own personal experience she began volunteering on the Let Us Learn campaign, now We Belong, in 2016 and has been working on issues regarding migration and young migrants ever since. She also recently joined IMIX – an organisation that facilitates and coordinates communication on migrant, refugee and integration issues – as a trustee member in 2020.
Sarah Thomas

Jonathan Smith

Head of Campaigns, Shelter

Jonathan has been in campaigns and communications for longer than he can remember.

Read more
Prior to Shelter he has lead teams at the Fairtrade Foundation, Save the Children, Help the Aged and Comic Relief as well as doing lots of other stuff. He’s really committed to supporting great new campaigners to develop and grow so judging this award has been a real privilege.
Sarah Thomas

Nike Jonah

Creative Producer

Nike has various roles in the cultural sector. She is currently, lead for the Popchange at Counterpoints Arts and also a Visiting Research Fellow at Central School of Speech and Drama.

Read more
In partnership with Vrystaat Festival, Bloemfontien, South Africa, 2018, she launched Pan African Creative Exchange (PACE) a business to business platform for artists based in Africa.

Between 2008 and 2012, Nike led the decibel programme, an Arts England initiative for African, Asian and Caribbean artists in England. Nike is a Trustee of the following; The European Cultural Foundation, The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, The Royal Africa Society and The Bush Theatre.

Sarah Thomas

David Gold

Executive Chair of Prospectus

David believes a business that values all stakeholders makes a huge contribution to society.

Read more
He is a Trustee of a Glimmer of Hope UK, Make-A-Wish UK, and Patron of Social Enterprise (UK). He mentors the CEOs of 3 beyond profits. David Chairs Inspiring Connections, serves on the Jane Slowey Memorial Fund and is a judge for the Governance Awards and the Acumen Leadership program. David believes in the passion, power and ingenuity of the voluntary to address the issues that ensure a fairer society.
Sarah Thomas

Sue Mendus

Director of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust

Sue is also Professor of Political Philosophy, University of York where she has taught Politics for 35 years.

Read more
Sue specialised in theories of justice, feminist theory, and problems of toleration. In addition to her work on the Reform Trust, Sue is also a member of the North Committee of National Lottery Heritage Fund, and a volunteer guide at York Minster. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and was its Vice President (Social Science) 2008-2012.
Sarah Thomas

Neena Bhati

Head of Campaigns at Which?

Neena leads Which?’s campaigns team, securing changes on the big issues affecting UK consumers to make their lives fairer, simpler and safer.

Read more
Some major achievements include improving supermarket food safety, securing enhanced rail compensation rights for passengers, and the establishment of the new Higher education and product safety regulators. Previous to this, Neena worked in policy and capacity building roles at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, including training local organisations across England to campaign and influence local decisions.
Sarah Thomas

Philippa Knott Kos

Policy Manager Blagrave Trust

A passionate and knowledgeable specialist in youth policy

Read more
Philippa previously worked at the Centre for Youth Impact and in the Cabinet Office’s Youth Policy team, leading their work on evidence and impact measurement in youth services, including the set-up of the Centre.
Sarah Thomas

Rachel Cain

Public Affairs and National Programmes Officer Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales

Rachel previously managed the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s Social Change Project, aiming to learn from examples of successful social change in order to strengthen future efforts. She has experience of working with charities and in politics, including as a Senior Researcher at the Directory of Social Change, and is from Liverpool.

Read more
Some major achievements include improving supermarket food safety, securing enhanced rail compensation rights for passengers, and the establishment of the new Higher education and product safety regulators. Previous to this, Neena worked in policy and capacity building roles at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, including training local organisations across England to campaign and influence local decisions.
Sarah Thomas

Patrick Steen

Head of Global Content, Unilever

With over a decade’s experience building powerful digital communities, Patrick has a passion for harnessing the voices of many to inspire changes in business and government policy.

Read more
He now leads Unilever’s global content team, where he tells the company’s sustainable growth stories across internal and external channels. Previously at Which?, Patrick built a digital innovation team that grew one of the largest supporter bases in the UK. Whether in mobilising half a million people to change the law on nuisance calls, or pioneering data collection tools to gather evidence of money lost to bank scams, the consumer actions Patrick led resulted in high-profile media and tangible policy
Sarah Thomas

Rhea Stevens

Head of Policy and External Affairs at Community Housing Cymru

Rhea has been a trustee of SMK for three years, and judging the annual campaigners awards is one of the best days of her year.

Read more
She has worked in campaigns and policy roles in Wales for ten years, specialising in social justice issues. Amongst the campaigns she is proudest of is Chance to Stay, which changed the law in Wales to allow young people to remain with their foster carers beyond 18. Rhea is Head of Policy and External Affairs at Community Housing Cymru.
Sarah Thomas

Kierra Box

Campaign Lead, Friends of the Earth

Kierra has been campaigning for over 10 years, since co-founding Hands Up for Peace, a youth campaign against the Iraq War, in 2003.

Read more
Kierra was one of the earliest winners of the Sheila McKechnie Award in 2006, and through the Foundation was able to develop further work to galvanise young people to campaign. Kierra ran youth organisation Hands Up until 2009, when she moved to working full time with a partnership supporting resident action and services in a disadvantaged area of London.
Sarah Thomas

Patrick Vernon

Campaigner

Patrick Vernon is a social commentator and campaigner who has been at the forefront of recent high-profile campaigns to establish of Windrush Day and grant an amnesty for the Windrush Generation.

Read more
Patrick has an OBE for his work tackling health inequalities for ethnic minority communities in Britain and was awarded an honorary PhD by Wolverhampton University for his contribution to migration history and equalities. Patrick is Vice Chair of the Bernie Grant Trust and a board member of 38 Degrees.
Sarah Thomas

Becca Bunce

John Ellerman Foundation

Becca has worked across civil society in policy, campaigns and public affairs. She is co-director of the award-winning IC Change campaign, which aims to end violence against women.

Read more
Becca has a strong interest in enabling people with direct experience of issues to participate in and lead social change, developed through her employment, academic interests and personal experience as a disabled woman. Becca is a past winner of the SMK Gender Campaigner of the Year.
Sarah Thomas

Lydia Rye

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales

Lydia is the Influencing Officer for Lloyds Bank Foundation, supporting grantees to develop their influencing skills.

Read more
Lydia is a former Senior Organiser for Citizens UK and has trained hundreds of leaders in the tools of Community Organising. Lydia has worked on campaigns from mental health to housing. She is proudest of her work with Nottingham Citizens to see misogyny recognised as a motivator for hate crime for the first time internationally and with community groups following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Can you support the awards?

We believe now more than ever that our work must protect the space for campaigner’s voices in civil society – with your support, we can support, we can continue to do this.

Join our community and get our newsletter

To be part of a more powerful civil society, sign up for news, upcoming events, training and consultancy.   

We will always respect your privacy. Read our Privacy Policy or click here to unsubscribe