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Celebrating innovation and creativity as applications open for The William Sutton Prize

Clarion Housing Group has today announced that applications are open for the third year of The William Sutton Prize.

Applications are open to individuals or organisations presenting an innovative concept, product or service that will have a positive social impact on a community. This can include projects or ideas developed during the coronavirus outbreak with potential for long-term impact, with criteria updated to reflect new thinking and creativity.

The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation will be awarded to an individual or organisation that has developed a ground-breaking new product, concept or service that will make a positive social impact on disadvantaged groups or communities. This could include those keen to build on a service or project that was trialled successfully during the coronavirus outbreak.

The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design will be awarded to an individual or organisation that has developed a ground-breaking design concept that will improve the quality of life and support the wellbeing of residents and communities. The criteria have been updated to recognise new thinking around community spaces, the renewed sense of community spirit and the important role and impact of community spaces post-lockdown.

The William Sutton Prize was developed by Clarion Housing Group to celebrate William Sutton’s legacy as a 19th century innovator and philanthropist who bequeathed his fortune to improve the quality of social housing.

Applications have opened later this year due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, enabling potential applicants to focus on coordinating their response to the crisis over the past few months. During the outbreak there have been efforts nationwide to use innovative approaches to generate social impact, and it is hoped that the judges will see entries that capture this new burst of innovation across the sector.

There is a prize fund of up to £20,000 on offer for each of the two categories, with the funding provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. The winning entries will be determined by a panel of industry experts led by Clare Miller, Group Chief Executive of Clarion. In 2019, Fat Macy’s took home The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation for their proposal to expand their supper clubs and catering events which get young Londoners off the streets and into their own homes whilst providing work experience.

Meg Doherty, Founder of Fat Macy’s, said: “Winning The William Sutton Prize was an amazing experience and created such a boost for our team. It’s the first award we’ve won and since then things have changed so much.

“We’ve hired a new staff member who’s already making fantastic changes to our ways of working and helping us support even more young people. Whilst we haven’t yet been able to open our restaurant and micro hostel due to the pandemic, we have a lot of exciting plans in the pipeline which is all thanks to the support we’ve received from Clarion. I’d really encourage anyone with an idea, no matter how big or small, to apply – you never know what might happen.”

The winner of The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design in 2019 was Jas Bhalla Architects’ proposal for a planning policy that encourages the transformation of nine main roads in Outer London into dense, urban streets through place-based design guidance.

Jas Bhalla, Founder of Jas Bhalla Architects, said: “As a young practice, winning The William Sutton Prize has been a significant boost to our profile and our growing portfolio. Since last November, we have held a number of (largely virtual) discussions with senior policy officers at several London Boroughs, many of whom have got in touch directly to learn more about our research and emerging proposals. These conversations been a great way of refining the Radial Routes project and discussing how aspects of our work might be reflected in Local Plans across London.”

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, said: “Whilst the coronavirus outbreak has seen our lives change in ways we could never have imagined, there have been some positive outcomes, as it has brought communities closer together and encouraged organisations to find creative solutions to challenges faced. We hope to see some of these amongst the entries for this year’s William Sutton Prize and look forward to continuing our support for talented and passionate architects, designers and social entrepreneurs.”

Applications close at midday on 30 September. To find out more about The William Sutton Prize or to apply, visit www.clarionhg.com/william-sutton-prize