Taking Centre Stage (The Guardian)

Date: 27/03/2002

Selected excerpts from an article published in The Guardian in March 2002.

Now in their 10th year, the Guardian Charity Awards have made a big difference to past winners. Raekha Prasad looks at the progress made by last year's recipients.

For most charities, making ends meet is a task more pressing than making headlines. And with scores of new charities registered each week, it's ever harder to stand out from the crowd. But the launch today of this year's Guardian Charity Awards offers up-and-coming voluntary groups a rare chance to catch a shaft of limelight.

As well as looking for a contribution to the community that stands out, the judges of this year's award are also hoping to receive entries that demonstrate innovation. The Iroko Theatre Company, another of last year's winners, offers a pointer in that direction.

The group, which uses traditional African storytelling, music and dance to enhance children's confidence, received a surge in interest in its approach after winning the award. The company is performing live this week at Charityfair 2002, where the awards are being launched.

"Until we received the award, we sent out a dreary black-and-white brochure to schools," says Carol Edozie, Iroko's administrator and fundraiser. Some of the prize money has gone towards new publicity material - the first time it has been updated in the organisation's six-year history. As a result, Edozie says Iroko has been inundated with requests from schools to work with pupils. In addition, the company is developing a pack to help teachers put into practice the lessons from the group's workshops.

(View the full article at The Guardian web site)

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