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Sickle cell charity wins national award for excellence

WINNERS: The Sickle Cell Society

A NATIONAL charity that supports people with sickle cell disorder has won a prestigious award.

The Sickle Cell Society has beaten more than 350 organisations from all over the UK to be one of the eight winners of the 2018 GSK IMPACT Awards, a national award that recognises charities that are doing excellent work to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

The charity will receive £30,000 in funding as part of its prize, as well as expert support and development from The King’s Fund. The Sickle Cell Society received its prize at a ceremony held at the Science Museum in London on May 17, along with seven other GSK IMPACT Award winners.

An estimated 15,000 people in the UK have sickle cell disorder, which is an inherited blood disorder mainly affecting people of black African and African Caribbean heritage. The condition can cause chronic fatigue, pain, damage to vital organs and leads to early mortality.

The Sickle Cell Society offers community-based services and influences national policy. It has a national telephone helpline offering support and information and it also runs a mentoring scheme for younger people with the condition and its Breaking Down Barriers outreach programme targets people from Portuguese-speaking and French-speaking communities.

Lisa Weaks, Head of Third Sector at The King’s Fund, said: "One of the impressive things about the Sickle Cell Society is that it is offering services at a community level but is also able to influence national policy. It has been instrumental in establishing national standards for the care of people with sickle cell disorder while ensuring these are firmly rooted in community needs."

John James, Chief Executive of the Sickle Cell Society, added: "I was absolutely delighted to find out we had won. Over the past five years we think we have been doing great work with patients, their families, and our partners in the NHS, NICE [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence], and industry and so it is really good for that to be recognised.

It is fantastic recognition that we are doing good work for people with sickle cell disorder, and I am sure it will further enhance our reputation in the sector. For funders it sends the message that we are delivering value for money. The leadership support will also help us to chart the next stage in our journey."

Developing leaders in the charity sector is an important aim of the GSK IMPACT Awards programme, which has now been running for more than 20 years, and the Sickle Cell Society will have access to training and leadership development tailored to its needs.

It will also be invited to join the GSK IMPACT Awards Network, a national network of almost 80 award-winning health and wellbeing charities working together to develop their leaders, find new ways of working, and support others.

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