Step Forward have been crowned the overall winner at the 2011 GSK IMPACT awards for their work to improve the health and well-being of young people in Tower Hamlets.

Step Forward’s patron Sir Ian McKellen kindly sent this video message of congratulations all the way from Middle Earth!

The awards – GSK’s flagship UK corporate social responsibility programme – highlight the crucial and often unsung role played by the voluntary sector in meeting health needs among deprived and vulnerable communities, often bridging gaps that statutory services are unable to fill. With NHS and local authority budgets under pressure, the GSK awards provide a vital source of funding for the winners and play a key role in promoting innovation and good practice across the voluntary sector.

Jennifer Fear, Chief Executive of Step Forward said:

“I am constantly inspired by the resilience and strength of the young people who come through our door. This award will enable Step Forward to help many more young people and allow the organisation to continue to thrive in the years ahead. It is great recognition for the skills and hard work of the staff, volunteers and trustees.”

Sir Christopher Gent, Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline and one of the judges, said:

“Step Forward defines what the IMPACT awards are about. It has demonstrated a strong focus in targeting and fulfilling the health needs of over 2000 young people, by understanding the local community; and actively engaging with the often hard-to-reach diverse cultures within it.

Their success is a testament to what can be achieved when charities and the NHS work together effectively. Moreover, Step Forward’s achievements are all the more impressive when you consider that they’ve been achieved on the tightest of budgets – less than £300,000 per year. The calibre of entrants this year was extremely high and I commend Step Forward for their innovation – well done to the staff and volunteers who have made it work so well.”

Find out more about the awards here