The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation

The prize will be awarded to an individual or organisation that has developed an innovative concept, product or service to meet this year’s theme of ‘A Home for All.

We are seeking innovative ideas to tackle the following issues:

- Innovation in tackling homelessness and addressing temporary accommodation needs

- Creative solutions for housing for an ageing population

- Using tech and new ideas to support successful and sustainable tenancies

The prize is to enable the winning entrant to take their idea to the next stage in its development. If the idea is an existing concept, we want to see how the prize can help maximise its impact for supporting ‘A Home for All.’  The winning entry will receive £20,000 to support idea development and growth.

Please make sure you read the guidance document before starting your form. Entrants do not need to be employed in the charity or third sector, but must be able to specify how their idea will make a positive social impact in the focus areas listed.

Applications for 2021 William Sutton Prize are now closed.

Our shortlist will be announced later this year, and the winners will be announced at our prize giving event early next year.

Social Innovation Guidance Document [downloadable PDF]

Social Innovation FAQs [downloadable PDF]

Case Study: 2018 Winner – Micro Rainbow International

Watch our video on the winner of the William Sutton Prize for Social Entrepreneurship Innovation with Micro Rainbow in 2018.

Micro Rainbow International aimed to provide a holistic approach to integration for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees, and expand the number of safe homes available. Set up in 2012 as a community interest company, the first safe home opened in October 2017 and the organisation now has five properties, which can support up to 40 refugees. By 2021, they plan to manage 40 properties across the country and house 320 refugees.

The new holistic approach can be scaled and replicated, and after a successful pilot in London, MRI has replicated it in the West Midlands. The concept also presents real potential to be replicated for other vulnerable groups, for example, trafficked women.

Since winning the William Sutton Prize in 2018, Micro Rainbow have been able to hire new housing outreach officers, scale the project with new safe houses, and secure social investment for further expansion. Over a six month period, they answered 200 requests for support and provided over 4,000 bed-nights to LGBTI asylum seekers who were at risk of violence and homelessness.

Sebastian Rocca, Founder and CEO of Micro Rainbow said:

“We work with a vulnerable group that is often unpopular.  It combines sexuality, gender identity and immigration issues.  These are issues that often make companies, funders and individuals uncomfortable to support.  This was not the case for the Clarion Housing Group.  They proudly recognized our innovative and sustainable approach to the widespread issue of homelessness and violence faced by LGBTI asylum seekers with the 2018 William Sutton Prize for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.  Such recognition increased our profile, allowed us to connect with various departments within Clarion Housing Group, and injected much needed resources to support the growth of the project.  We would very much encourage other social enterprises and charities to apply.”

Read about all our finalists from 2018 for inspiration.

Case Study: 2019 Winner – Fat Macy’s

Watch our video on Fat Macy, the winner of the William Sutton Prize for Social Entrepreneurship Innovation.

Fat Macy’s is a catering social enterprise that gets young Londoners out of homelessness and into their own homes through food. The team run supper clubs and catering events that provide an innovative framework for trainees to overcome the financial barriers preventing them from moving into rented accommodation from temporary accommodation. For every hour volunteered, Fat Macy’s saves money on behalf of the trainees to build housing deposits, whilst providing valuable work experience and giving participants the confidence to challenge the perception of homelessness.

Since winning the William Sutton Prize in 2019 Fat Macy’s have been able to hire their new Tenancy Support Worker and are progressing plans to open their first permanent venue in south London which will comprise of a commercial kitchen, restaurant space, deli and uniquely, a four-bed ‘microhostel’ flat for trainees. At this stage in the organisation’s growth, the ‘microhostel’ will allow them to fundamentally redefine how homeless hostels work and innovatively challenge how the current homelessness system operates.

Meg Doherty, Founder of Fat Macy’s, said: “It feels absolutely incredible to have won The William Sutton Prize – we were nominated alongside so many amazing projects and we’re so grateful for Clarion’s support. The money will make a huge difference, enabling us to support even more young people through Fat Macy’s.”

Case study: 2021 Winner Hackney School of Food

Watch our video on The winner of The 2020 William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation, Hackney School of Food.

The winner of The 2020 William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation was a hub providing ‘seed to spoon’ food education for primary school children in Hackney. Opened in 2020, The Hackney School of Food is a collaboration between charity Chefs in Schools, the LEAP Federation – made up of three state primary schools in Hackney – and architect Surman Weston that transformed an old building and area of disused land into a food education hub.

Through the hub, primary school children benefit from food education and the local community receive free cooking classes, enabling children and adults to learn to grow fruit and vegetables, tend beehives, cook over fire and turn produce into meals. The £20,000 prize fund will be used to share the model with other schools to create nurturing environments for children to engage with food and growing.

Polly Prail, Head of Development, Chefs in Schools – Hackney School of Food, said: “after a really challenging year, winning the prize has been very significant. This prize means that we can share our vision for food education with communities across the country. From the outset, we wanted the Hackney School of Food to be replicated across many more school communities. The William Sutton Prize has enabled us to make this a reality by funding the development of a toolkit to equip and inspire others to create their own School of Food.”

Read The William Sutton Prize Terms and Conditions