An annual awards ceremony which celebrates businesses across Shropshire catering for children and young people has announced its charity of the year.
The Businesses for Children Awards, now in its fifth year, will raise funds for Empathy, which aims to improve the lives of families living with children with high functioning autism spectrum disorder or additional needs through provision of regular social activities.
Money will be raised at the awards ceremony at the Park Inn Hotel, Telford, on March 10, 2018, through a game of ‘heads and tails’.
At the 2017 event, nearly £700 was raised for Homestart Telford and Wrekin.
Empathy, which runs projects in Telford, Oswestry and Craven Arms, is a previous BCA runner-up.
Rhea Alton, who heads up the BCA team, said: “Traditionally the money raised on the night went to the winner of the charity category, but this year we decided to drop the category as the judges found it so difficult to pick a winner from the really wonderful charities entering each year.
“A decision was made to raise money for a chosen charity at each event.”
Empathy charity founder Sam Goddard will also be the speaker at the awards ceremony, which has 12 categories, new business, educational business for five to 18 year-olds, activities for under fives, franchisee and a volunteer award.
The finalists, decided by 12 judges, were announced on December 4.
She said: “It is an honour to be asked to speak at such a prestigious event in the Shropshire business calendar. We were shortlisted for an award previously and we were absolutely delighted.
“I will be telling the guests about the work Empathy does in the community for children and teenagers who fall in to the “high functioning” autism category with hidden disabilities.
“We have really grown from when we were started by a small group of parents in 2010. Seven years on and we are able to support many children in the Shropshire community with special needs as well as their siblings.
“We really value the support of organisations such as the Businesses for Children Awards, which will allow us to put on even more activities for children attending our events.”
Trish Parsons, co-ordinator of the 2018 BCAs, said she was delighted that Sam would be the event’s speaker.
She said: “Empathy works hard to provide activities for special needs children in our county and we are so pleased we are able to support them.
“We are very grateful to Sam for agreeing to be our sponsor too.”
Henshalls Insurance Brokers is the headline sponsor for the event for the second year in a row.
Other sponsors include Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, JS Business Admin, J&PR Ltd, Ed Bagnall Photography, Jungle HR, MGP Accountants, Bellini’s Box, SJF Design & Print, Vehicle Glass Conversions, Cyclone, KE Designs, Park Inn, Yarrington, PC Net Solutions and Jungleland.
For more information about the BCAs and to book tickets, see http://www.bcawards.co.uk