By Blanche Sainsbury, founder, Child of Wales
We would, once again, like to thank all of our sponsors, supporters and stakeholders for their continued support during these unprecedented times. It means a lot to us, the charities we are supporting and the children and young people whose lives we will celebrate. It gives us all hope and something to look forward to in the midst of uncertainty. But in the context of the pandemic and limitations on social gatherings, we have had to map the best way forward for the Child of Wales Awards.
As such, we have some important announcements to make. We have made these in the context of government guidelines and scientific advice and in the best interests of everyone involved in Child of Wales. But we are also still determined to create some magic and offer joy and happiness to individuals – the purpose of Child of Wales.
We have rescheduled the main Child of Wales Awards for Friday April 9, 2021. We promise the long wait will be worth it – the evening will be amazing. More detail on why we have done this is below.
In addition to this, because we did not want to keep our amazing young people waiting that long before their achievements could be recognised, we also have a special surprise in store.
We will be contacting all our young award winners over the next few months to tell them they have won and give them some very special surprises. We plan to then release a video of celebration, comprising their stories, on the date of the rescheduled awards on October 30. Again, more detail is below.
Finally, we are acutely aware of the challenges many charities have faced as a result of lockdown and restrictions on society. The delay of our event has limited our ability to fundraise but in light of the funding challenges many charities are facing, we will be presenting our charities with £5,000 each immediately. We hope this will help them through these difficult times. We again thank our sponsors for their continued support, which has made this possible.
Child of Wales Awards
Even though we accept it may be possible to run a large event in the autumn, there remains much uncertainty in the UK around COVID-19 infection rates and the government’s response. A so-called second wave remains a possibility as does localised lockdowns if infection rates soar in certain geographical areas.
We also must consider the vulnerability of some of our award winners, many of which are in a high-risk category and have been self-isolating or shielding for many months now. Given the size of the awards may reach some 750, the feasibility of our event as planned in just over three months’ time is clearly in doubt.
The coronavirus prevented us holding our inaugural event, to the great disappointment of everyone involved. But 2021 is a new year and we are sure it will be a better year. We promised our young award winners a night in the spotlight and we plan to deliver exactly that.
Therefore, on April 9, 2021, we will finally meet at the Celtic Manor, as intended, to finally deliver what we started and what so many people have worked so hard to make a very special event. The only difference is that we will be adding a few new awards, details of which will be revealed in October.
These new awards are designed to celebrate the bravery and community spirit of Wales’ young people during the pandemic and through lockdown. During the Coronavirus pandemic, though we were not seeking new nominations, we have been contacted by many individuals getting in touch and asking us to recognise the bravery and hard work of many young people in Wales who have gone the extra mile for their friends, relatives and their local community. We will formalise this sentiment into some new awards and seek new entries.
Our virtual celebration
The whole world has been forced to embrace an alternative, online, existence during lockdown and technology has come on leaps and bounds as a result. Many other awards ceremonies, from graduations to business awards, are now being delivered in a virtual format. We plan to also celebrate the achievements of our winners in this way.
This means that the stories of our inspirational young people, with the support of sponsors and other stakeholders, will be used to help us pull together a video celebrating Child of Wales, which we will release on October 30.
We are very excited by this prospect, which will allow us to celebrate the achievements and lives of young people in Wales – and bring our stakeholders together – but in a virtual, and thus safe, environment.
We remain excited and positive about the future plans for the Child of Wales Awards. We receive a huge amount of goodwill from our stakeholders and the wider community on a regular basis. We are grateful for that and plan to repay it in spades through our two planned events as well as our continued publicity campaign and the continued growth of our platforms on social media.
Thank you for your continued support – and patience.
Blanche Sainsbury, founder, Child of Wales