Influencer Award

The nominees for this category are listed below. Have a good read through each one and vote for your favourite.



Influencer Award  – Becca Bunce

Becca is a co-founder of the ICchange campaign which has the following vision, mission and objectives:

Our vision is of a society where women and girls can live free from violence and free from the fear of violence.

Our mission is to secure the ratification of the lstanbul(Convention (IC) through education, campaigning and advocacy. We believe that the IC is a key step towards creating a safe society for women and girls because:

  • The IC is a strategic way to tackle violence against women and girls;
  • The IC is a legal commitment from the UK Government to tackle violence against women and girls; the IC is a method that engages all sectors and communities across

She was also mentioned and praised for her work by President Barack Obama in a speech he made in London in April 2016.

This is not to mention her part-time position of Policy & Engagment Manager at Small Charities Coalition and involvement in numerous other organisations where she is actively influencing and advocating on a daily basis.

Although I do not know the finer details of all of her work as I have only known Becca for 3 months, within that time frame she has demonstrated more dedication to campaigning and influencing for positive change than anyone I have ever met. She is truly deserving of an award such as this.


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Influencer Award – Kate Garbers

Kate believes strongly in a world without slavery and that it can be achieved. She is motivated by a huge sense of injustice and inequality in the world around her, and her desire to challenge these wherever she encounters them.

Her aim is to develop and deliver appropriate models of care and support for those unlucky enough to become victims of human trafficking and slavery. She also believes passionately in tackling the root causes of it – such as the demand for cheap labour and cheap goods. Kate believes that everyone should be treated as equal.

She was spurred into action after working in a Ukrainian orphanage over the course of several summers. She took time out from her work as a school teacher to go for 2 weeks to create lots of stimulating activities with them. At the end of one trip, she asked the manager of the home what happens to the children when they leave the orphanage. The answer came back that because there is no state support for them, they end up getting into drink, drugs, crime, prostitution or being picked up by traffickers and exploited in the Ukraine or taken abroad to other countries. This shocked Kate so much that she then investigated the issue and found that a web of trafficking existed throughout Europe, with children and adults being exploited on a massive scale.

Compelled to act, Kate then came home and asked the police what she could do to help. They responded by saying that they knew trafficking and slavery existed, but it was such a hidden crime it was hard to tackle. Even if they did find someone, they had no safe place for them to stay. So Kate linked up with another passionate anti-trafficking supporter, Andrew Wallis, and together they founded Unseen ( to set up the southwest’s first safe-house for women victims of trafficking. This was in 2008. Unseen now has a safe-house for women, which has welcomed 130 survivors through its doors from 34 different countries- illustrating the scale of slavery in the UK today. It has just opened the UK’s first dedicated safe­ house for men and is working on a care and accommodation service for children, which, again, will be the first of its kind in the country. But survivor support is only part of what Unseen does. Kate is the first to acknowledge that providing services is just one part of the solution, so the organisation has now grown to encompass:

  • training of frontline staff so that more personnel have confidence in correctly identifying victims and taking appropriate action.
  • working with organisations to look at where slavery might exist in their supply chains
  • working with all levels of government and law enforcement so that in-roads can be made in tackling slavery in a holistic way
  • setting up an Anti-Slavery Partnership in the South West so that organisations can come together, share Information, learn from each other, identify industries where slavery is likely to exist and then create action plans to tackle the problem.

Kate is a great believer in collaborative working and tackling a problem holistically. She is passionate, energetic and lives and breathes her work. She is now renowned as an expert in the field of anti-trafficking and slavery and uses this to create strategic solutions -whether it is at the micro or macro level.

Kate is frequently asked to give evidence and her opinion to the government and uses her influence to ensure that the voice of the survivor is heard and that practical and implementable solutions are reached. She sits on the Home Office Modern Slavery Strategy and Implementation Group, and has chaired its Training Sub-Group for the Modern Slavery Unit. She gave written evidence to the Committee ahead of the Modern Slavery Act being passed and was also invited to give oral evidence to the panel. She plays an advisory role to the government to help it improving its system for formally identify victims (called the National Referral Mechanism), and is a trained multi-disciplinary panel member for a new pilot scheme. In addition, she is member of the Regional Strategic Governance group (law enforcement), and the Peer review group for the Modern Slavery Unit at the Home Office, assisting them to write statutory guidance for frontline staff so that they have the tools they need to be able to correctly identify victims.

Kate has recently been invited to be part of the National Threat Group and has responsibility, alongside national policing, to develop an effective framework for multi-agency working to tackle slavery. The model she has developed has been based upon the work she has done in the South West with the Anti-Slavery Partnership. If successful this will ensure that each region has oversight of the issue in their area and can effectively work towards protecting victims and prosecuting perpetrators. With each region having a similar structure this will then assist the whole of the UK in understanding the nature and scale of the issue of trafficking and slavery and apportion resources appropriately to tackle it.

Kate works closely with lawyers representing clients in detention in order to provide expert witness statements on their clients’ behalf. Kate meets with clients, interviews them and then offers opinion and evidences the facts as to why they may show indicators of having been exploited and trafficked.

Last year, she was asked to write and present a paper to the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy on the resettlement and reintegration of victims of human trafficking  As part of this conference she was then asked to assist in drafting the recommendations that went forward from the Academy to the Pope to assist in shaping the new Sustainable Development Goals. Kate also provided evidence to the Review Committee looking at the Modern Slavery Act that came into force last year.  She also encouraged survivors to come with her so they could give their own personal accounts of what it’s like to be a victim in the UK. This has led to a close working relationship between the Home Office and Unseen, providing a grassroots view on what’s happening on the ground.  She recently co-authored a report with the University of the West of England, interviewing frontline professionals who had received training to be part of the National Referral Mechanism Pilots.

Closer to home, Kate initiated and established the creation of the Anti-Slavery Partnership, bringing together law enforcement agencies, businesses, NGOs and local government in the South West. This has grown and developed into 5 partnerships covering each of the force areas in the South West and an over-arching regional partnership that feeds into a national framework.  She now co-chairs both the Avon and Somerset Partnership and the Regional ASP.

Kate has now trained Unseen staff teams to ensure they can accompany police on welfare visits and operations across the region, this ensuring that all visits are focused on victim welfare.

Above all, Kate is always looking at ways to provide practical solutions to strategic problems. She is able to identify what needs to change at policy level and then ensure the voice of the victim is central to any solutions found.


Supporting the Police:

Following a series of police operations, Kate received the following letter last year from Gareth Morgan, Temporary Chief Constable:

“This letter of thanks is presented to you for your dedication and outstanding contributions as a result of Operation Wanderer & Riverside: investigations into modern slavery that commenced in September 2013.

‘The intelligence picture that was built identified up to 45 potential victims. “It was hugely successful in building confidence within very hard to reach groups within our communities. The commitment you displayed to help tackle this type of criminality, and by working with our partners to safeguard victims, showed true professionalism.

“I would like to personally thank you and the Unseen team for your unrelenting support and advice to the police team in ensuring suitable provision was in place to effectively safeguard vulnerable people.”

The results of the Anti-Slavery Partnership is that the new Modern Slavery Commissioner (set up as a result of the Modern Slavery Act) is considering rolling the model out across the country as a way of building better links and collaboration between and within areas.

Thanks to Kate’s determination and leadership, the South West now has a safe-house for women victims of slavery and the UK now has the first dedicated safe-house for male victims. Without these, men and women with some of the highest level of physical, psychological and emotional trauma would not be able to get the support they need.” Identifying gaps and providing solutions

In 2012, Kate ran a focus group for women who had left the safe-house and were living in the local community. All women said they were struggling to find their feet, that they felt isolated, didn’t know where to go for help and couldn’t complete basic tasks such as find somewhere safe to live, open a bank account or know where to look for training, education or work. So, Kate created a Resettlement Programme to provide women leaving the safe-house with continued outreach support to help combat these issues, funded entirely by voluntary donations. This programme is so successful that our local Police and Crime Commissioner has now commissioned the Resettlement Service and it has been extended to encompass outreach services for male and female survivors living in the community with previous trafficking experiences.


Little fish to big fish:

2008: Unseen began in 2008 with Kate and Andrew. Charity income £0

2011: The women’s safe-house opened. Charity income £250k

2012: Kate awarded McWhirter Citizenship Award. Charity income £438k

2013: Unseen given Centre for Social Justice Award. Charity income £588k

2015: Unseen presented with Charity Times Award for Best Charity Under £1m. Charity income: £755k

Anti-Slavery Partnership creation and growth

Having established an Anti-Slavery Partnership in the South West -where previously most areas thought it was not an issue for them – police force areas now is actively looking for trafficking and has identified organised crime groups in their areas. The ASP framework has resulted in higher reporting of modern slavery from the police and from general public, and agencies are now working together effectively to identify victims and perpetrators, which has increased the number of arrests in the Avon & Somerset force area. There are now five regional ASP’s plus a regional board that they report Into, which informs the national picture of modern slavery.

Where to next?

Kate would like to take Unseen overseas and ensure survivors receive the same level of care regardless of where they are found in the world.


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Influencer Award – Nicky Goulder

In 2002, Nicky Goulder had a vision of a charity that would use the creative arts in their breadth and diversity to create a fairer, more caring, more inclusive society in which every individual can fulfil their potential.

As Chief Executive of the Orchestra of St John’s, she had witnessed the profound impact that music had on the lives of children and vulnerable adults through the orchestra’s outreach programme, which she expanded by 400% – from 40 to 160 days p.a.- during her four years in post.

Spurred by the success and impact of this project, she left the Orchestra in 2003 to establish Create, a charity that uses the power of the creative arts to transform the lives of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society by enabling them to develop creativity, learning, social skills and self-esteem.

Aims and Objectives:

Create’s participants come from varied backgrounds and all face challenges within their lives. Studies have found that disabled children tend to have fewer friends than non-disabled children and that 25-30% of children with a learning disability feel socially rejected by their peers. In the 2011 census, 6.5 million people in England were identified as unpaid carers, many of whom experience social isolation, loneliness and ill health. Moved by the challenges, inequality and discrimination faced by marginalised individuals, and determined to break down the barriers that prevent inclusivity, Nicky set out to provide opportunities for them to work with professional artists in a safe, nurturing environment where they could:

  • Experience support and friendship from other members of their communities
  • Develop social and creative skills and interests
  • Grow in self-expression and self-worth, leading to improved life-chances.

Nicky has achieved this by creating opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable people to come together collaboratively on shared creative projects, which are designed to develop friendships, social skills and confidence. She recognised that misconceptions, a lack of understanding and a dearth of social opportunities were leading to unhappiness, missed opportunities and lack of inclusion. Create’s work in the community challenges stereotypes. Participants’ individual and collective achievements, increased social and creative skills, as well as improved self – esteem are taken back to their homes/communities, and shared more widely with others, helping to shape a more compassionate, inclusive society.

Under Nicky’s leadership and influence, over 32,000 disdvantaged and vulnerable children and adults have now taken part in sustained, life-changing programmes rated “successful overall” by 99.6% of community partners in 2015/16. Building upon this success -collaborating closely with Create’s project team, professional artists, community partners and funders – Nicky has worked to push Create’s breadth of impact, continuing to reach new locations and influence groups facing marginalisation: a new partnership with LGBT charity METRO and the first programme in Wales, with prison HMP YOI Pare, exemplified this in 2016.

Create’s work has attracted increased public attention, achieving 146 pieces of media coverage in 2015/16 (up 23.7% on 2014/15) including several high profile opinion pieces by Nicky that have helped to raise the profile of the challenges faced by the charity’s participants and the impact of accessing the creative arts on their lives. Publications include Arts Industry, Arts Professional, The Guardian and Huffington Post.    ·

Such high profile platforms raise awareness of the marginalised individuals with whom Create works. Similarly, Nicky utilises social media to call for meaningful social change on a wider scale, engaging others in celebrating the communal and transformative power of the arts, as well as using it to strengthen relationships with funders and community partners. Nicky’s influence on the social media community was recognised through a 2015 #SociaiCEO award, whilst a year prior to this, Nicky won Charity Times’ Rising CEO Star Highly Commended award. In February 2016, Nicky was invited to present the International Keynote speech ‘Strategic Governance for Income Generation’ and a partnership working and stewardship workshop at Akolade’s ‘Not for Profit Income Generation’ conference in Sydney. In doing so, she shared Create’s influential work with an international audience.

Nicky’s commitment to disadvantaged and vulnerable people has had a profound and lasting effect on the lives of Create’s 32,032 participants to date, many of whom go on to impact and influence their communities. Since 2003, the charity has run 6,666 workshops that have delivered 230,353 contact hours. The sessions run in 2015/16 were rated “successful overall” and “enjoyable” respectively by 99.6% of the charity’s community partners and 97.2% of participants. Create’s fundraising success in 2015/16 achieved an 11.7% increase in income (£720k up from £644k in 2014/15), allowing almost 1,000 workshops to be delivered nationally.

In addition to post-project evaluations, two projects each year are revisited 6-24 months after they have finished for an evaluation of their longer-term impact on participants, an initiative named Making it Matter. These highlighted a number of key longer-term benefits, including the development and use of creative and social skills, confidence, the breaking down of barriers and strengthened family/peer relations: “[Create] helps to sharpen the mind of a person and improve the lives of people here.”; “I found it has been a huge ice breaker amongst the people who come to the centre, so I now feel a lot closer, like I know the people and trust people and people can trust me. It becomes a network.”; “I am definitely more outgoing and more confident to volunteer for things as well and use my initiative.”

This year, Nicky has spearheaded Nurturing Talent, Create’s new initiative to upskill emerging artists to become workshop facilitators through mentoring, workshop experience and a bursary. Six artists are on the pilot programme. In doing so, Nicky has conceived a supportive foundation for a younger generation of artists to flourish, develop and impact their communities into the future.

These significant and impressive figures demonstrate the power that Create’s programmes have in the lives of the disadvantaged and vulnerable people it works with. They take these skills back into their communities, operate more confidently in social situations, and lead their lives with an increased sense of wellbeing, compassion and understanding.

Nicky’s influence is both significant and far-reaching.


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