Impact Awards 2018 Series – The Children’s Sleep Charity

The FSI Small Charity Big Impact Awards 2018 Series – The Children’s Sleep Charity (Charity with an annual turnover between £150,001 – £250,000)

Small charities and community groups around the country carry out vital work but in many cases people are not aware of their impact. Through the FSI Small Charity Big Impact Awards, small charities and community groups can highlight their work and the impact they make on a local, national and international level. To celebrate their achievements, over the next few months we are going to be hosting a series of guest blogs written by the winners of the 2018 Small Charity Big Impact Awards.

This blog has been written by Vicki Dawson, Founder and CEO of The Children’s Sleep Charity, who won a 2018 Impact Award in the “Charity with an annual turnover between £150,001 – £250,000” category.

About Us
I set up The Children’s Sleep Charity after experiencing first-hand the dark path that sleep deprivation can lead you down as a parent. When you have a child that doesn’t sleep the whole house doesn’t sleep which has a huge impact on relationships as well as wellbeing.

The Challenge
The biggest challenge we have as a charity is meeting the huge demand for our service with very limited resources. It is estimated around 11 million children and families are suffering at the moment and there is very little support available. Our funding is largely self-generated by training staff from the statutory sector to use our methods in their localities. Funders generally don’t recognise the need to fund sleep support which is incredibly frustrating when sleep is so vital for mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

We Love a Challenge
Although it is challenging we are determined to raise the profile of the importance of sleep and sleep support. Last year we launched a manifesto in Westminster and we run a ‘Sleep Week’ each October in partnership with Netmums. Winning the Small Charity Big Impact Award has also helped us to raise awareness of our work. As part of the prize we worked with a film producer to develop a short clip that highlights the importance of our work. It was really useful to capture the voices of families and professionals that we have trained and hope that it brings the work to life for funders too.

Running a small charity is challenging, particularly in the current economic climate. I’m sure many of you are reading this whilst nodding! My best piece of advice is around to view challenges as ‘exciting opportunities’. If things were easy it would soon become boring and everybody would be doing it! Surround yourself with positive people and recognise that if it’s worth doing, it will probably be difficult.

Winning the Award

I believe we won the award this year because we clearly demonstrated how our model is sustainable and despite being a small charity we now reach over 30,000 families each year.

Winning the award has helped staff morale. We are an upbeat team but sometimes it is tough, particularly when each day brings more funding rejections. It was wonderful to find out that the judges did see the value of our work, we are so proud of what we have achieved. The ceremony also provided us with a much welcomed networking opportunity. We are based in Yorkshire and sometimes it can be frustrating when much of the networking occurs in London.


Looking to the Future
One thing that the award has made me recognise is that it is important to network with other small charity leaders. We must support each other as it can be an isolating role at times. I’m sure the award will help to strengthen our future funding applications, it also looks wonderful in pride of place in our reception area!

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