This prize 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.

The winner of the William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation 2020 has now been announced.

Register your interest for 2021

It has been clear from our experiences working with partners from across our communities that there have been extraordinary efforts to use novel and innovative approaches to generate social impact as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Social Innovation Prize remains open to a breadth of new ideas but also welcomes applications from those who would like to build on a service, project or idea that has been trialled during the COVID-19 crisis and has potential to be evolved to work as part of a new or adapted business plan.

Please make sure you read through the eligibility and assessment criteria 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 contribution.

The below guidance information will help you shape your application and provide you with a more detailed understanding of how applications will be shortlisted.

Social Innovation Eligibility Criteria [downloadable PDF]

Social Innovation Assessment Criteria [downloadable PDF]

Read through our Prize FAQs for further information on how to prepare your application and understand more about the entry and shortlisting process. 

Case Study: 2018 Winner – Micro Rainbow International

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

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.”

All applications must be submitted via our online application system Flexi-Grant. You will be required to register and activate your account in order to access the online application form.


Read The William Sutton Prize Terms and Conditions