METRO is a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Gold Champions IMPACT Award winner in recognition of its excellent and innovative services to people experiencing issues relating to sexuality, gender, identity or diversity. The charity will be awarded £35,000 by The Kings Fund and GSK and a training development programme at a ceremony in central London in May.
As an award winner in 2007, Metro was eligible for consideration as an IMPACT Champion and was selected out of 100 applicants to be one of only three Gold Champions. The judges looked at how the charity has developed and innovated since its original win, its key achievements and the difference that has made to its service users.
METRO has grown significantly since winning its 2007 IMPACT Award, broadening its reach to encompass national and international projects, diversifying its client base and establishing 59 new projects. In 2011 the charity reported 40,000 occasions of service and its current main user groups are: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, African people, young people under 25 and people living with HIV.
Metro's services include sexual health information, screening, testing, treatment and counselling; crisis support, counselling and self-help and groups, activities and support for young people. The judges were particularly impressed with Metro's peer-mentoring programme, where trained volunteers work with men who have sex with men to discuss their sexuality and help identify and establish safer sex practices. This approach has now been rolled out across London, nationally and internationally and is being used in other communities, including in London with African communities at risk of HIV infection. Furthermore, the Health Protection Agency noted that METRO's pilot community based HIV testing for high risk African communities had one of the highest positivity rates of all the models that had been tested.
Marguerite McLaughlin, Metro CEO said:
'Everyone at Metro is absolutely thrilled to be an IMPACT Gold Champion. Since our IMPACT win in 2007, we have been on an incredible journey of diversification and growth, which has meant that we have been able to increase our reach and support more people than ever before. We are extremely grateful to GSK and the Kings Fund for their recognition of and support for our work. It really is a team effort at Metro and I want to thank all of our staff, volunteers, service users, partners, funders and supporters for their commitment and support.'
Lisa Weaks, Third Sector Programme Manager at The King's Fund, said:
'This charity is clearly going places while remaining true to its voluntary sector roots. The judges were particularly impressed with how professionally run it is with excellent systems and strong leadership. It has been and continues to be innovative. It is difficult to see how it can be anything other than a gold award winner.'
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1. METRO is a health, community and youth services provider working locally, pan-London, regionally, nationally and internationally. We conduct research, challenge discrimination and promote equality. The charity is based in Greenwich and has offices in Vauxhall, Woolwich and very recently, Rochester. www.metrocentreonline.org
2. The GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT Awards are open to charities with an income of between £10,000 and £1.5million that are at least three years old. The name 'IMPACT' derives from the criteria that winners must have demonstrated in their application submissions: Innovation, Management, Partnership, Achievement, Community Focus and Targeting Need. For the IMPACT Champions, open to IMPACT award winners from 2006 to 2011, three were awarded Gold prizes and funding of £35,000; 1 was awarded silver, with £10,000 and four were awarded bronze with £5,000 of funding. As well as receiving £35,000 in prize money, the winners are offered a training programme hosted by The King's Fund that provides expert development and networking opportunities. Feedback has shown that this opportunity is as valuable to the winning charities as the financial reward as it builds upon the skills to take their organisations into a dynamic, exciting future.
3. The calibre of award is reflected in its judging panel who chose the winners, which this year includes Professor Steve Field, former Chair of the Royal College of GPs and Chair of the NHS Future Forum which advises government on health policy; Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of Big Lottery; Gilly Green, Head of UK Grants at Comic Relief; Sir Christopher Gent, Chairman of GSK; and, Sir Chris Kelly, Chair of The King's Fund The King's Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, it helps to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Its work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. It also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas. www.kingsfund.org.uk
4. GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. www.gsk.com
Michael - Counselling
I gained a huge amount of help from the counselling service and would like to thank the service for offering so much support.
Joe - Mentoring
The programme had such an impact on my life that I decided to come on board as a volunteer mentor!
Peter- First Point
I felt so relieved to have a named First Point worker who I can call if I need to be referred to a particular service.
Ebere - First Point
I wish this service was around when I was newly diagnosed. I felt my world had fallen apart around me and I didn't know which way to turn for support. You are offering a very valuable service.
Simon - Mentoring
By discussing things at such an intimate level with my mentor, I really came face to face with some of the reasons why I was taking chances before.
Abimbola- First Point
It has been a long time since I felt that someone actually listened to me.
Joan - First Point
Thank you so much for taking time to listen to me and truly understand how I am feeling. This is the only appointment I've had regarding HIV that didnít feel rushed.
Sarah - Counselling
The help and understanding I experienced from everyone I came into contact with whilst using the Metroís services was amazing.
Kwasi - Mentoring
During the 6 month programme, I developed a close relationship with my mentor. Knowing that I would have to talk to him honestly about what I did in the previous 2 weeks somehow forced me to be safe every time I had an encounter.
David - Counselling
Outstanding people. Outstanding service. Outstanding counselling. Truly something that has allowed me to turn my life around.