SMK Awards


Winners of the 2016 campaigner awards announced on the 13th April!


On the 13th April over 150 people gathered at the House of Lords to celebrate the winners of the 2016 Campaigner Awards. 


What are the awards?

The SMK Campaigner Awards recognise and celebrate people who demonstrate their commitment to and effectiveness in tackling the root causes of injustice and inequality, be it over the last year or over many years. Our award winners are people who have brought about lasting change within their communities or more widely, either on a local or national basis.

The 2016 winners are:

Shirley Smith
Shirley Smith

Health Award

Shirley Smith and her family founded the If U Care Share Foundation (IUCSF) after her eldest son Daniel took his own life aged 19. The IUCSF believes suicide is preventable if people are supported and, in particular, helped to open up and talk about their feelings. 

Sponsored by Anthony Nolan 

Barbara Richardson and Pat Davies

Environmental Justice Award

Pat Davis and Barbara Richardson are lead figures in Frack Free Lancashire (FFL), a community-based campaign fighting the planned development of shale gas, using hydraulic fracturing (fracking), across Lancashire.

Sponsored by Frederick Mulder Foundation

Martin Emery

Social Justice Award

Martin Emery and his wife have three sons the eldest of whom, Jordon, is passionate about football and a wheelchair user. Martin formed United Discriminates in October 2014 after the Manchester United Disabled Liaison Officer, and the Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association (MUDSA) Secretary told him that he should take his family to “Rochdale, Stockport or Oldham” because they were not able to seat a family together if a member of the family had a wheelchair. 

Sponsored by Shelter

Laura Christer and Sophie Murtha

Gender Equality Award

Domestic Violence Peer Educators aim to raise awareness of domestic abuse/violence and remove barriers to accessing support for young women aged 13 – 19, based in the West End Women and Girls Centre in Newcastle.

Funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Debra Bourne

Creating Change within Business Award

Debra Bourne is Co Founder and Director of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk. All Walks works with influential catwalk designers, top industry creatives, fashion students and their colleges to challenge the fashion industry’s
dependence on unachievable and limited body and beauty ideals. The campaign highlights the responsibility that the fashion industry has to recognise the psychological impact of it’s messaging upon the minds of young women and men. 

Sponsored by Forster Communications

Cait Read

People and Place: Local Campaigner Award

The Newcastle City baths, a beautiful and unique community facility located in a listed building in the heart of Newcastle, was closed by the Council in Spring 2013. It is one of less than a dozen Victorian Turkish baths in the UK. The baths heritage, health benefits and community value meant that a group of users (mainly women) got together under Cait’s leadership to campaign for its’ re-opening.

Sponsored by Local Trust


Housing and Homelessness Award

The FocusE15 campaign was born in September 2013 when a group of young mothers were served eviction notices by East Thames Housing Association. When they approached the Council for help, the mothers were advised that, due to cuts to housing benefit and the lack of affordable housing in London, they would to have accept private rented accommodation as far away as Manchester, Hastings and Birmingham.

Sponsored by Crisis.

Eric Lee

Economic Justice Award

LabourStart was founded by Eric Lee in 1998 as the news and campaigning website of the international trade union movement. Still an aggregator of trade union related news, LabourStart has grown to become a formidable campaigning force supporting workers’ rights around the world.

Sponsored by TUC.

Tom Kearney

Transport Award

Tom Kearney was hit by the side mirror of a London bus in Oxford Street in December 2009 and was in a coma for several weeks and only just survived. As a result, he began to investigate the safety record of Transport for London buses and found that not only was there a very high accident rate, but no proper process to investigate any incidents. Tom set up London Bus Watch to campaign to reduce the rate of accidents and to ensure that Transport for London (TFL) adopts appropriate procedures to improve safety.

Sponsored by the Foundation for Integrated Transport

Sam Jefferies

The People’s Choice  Award

The Hear My Voice campaign was launched by Mencap in the run up to the last General Election to engage more people with a learning disability in the process, and encourage more decision makers to listen to their voices. Sam, a volunteer who has a learning disability, has been at the forefront of this campaign sharing his own personal story and encouraging others with learning disabilities to speak out. 

This award is funded and voted for by the public and supported by Global Markets Consultants.


John Stewart

Long Term Achievement Award

John has been an environmental campaigner since the 1980’s and was a key figure in several successful campaigns against major road expansions in the 1980’s and 90’s. In the 1990’s John became a central figure in campaigns to halt the environmental damage caused by the aviation industry. He chaired a diverse coalition of campaigners that defeated the government’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport. John remains a committed campaigner, chairing Airport Watch and the UK Noise Association and in 2008 was voted the most effective environmentalist by the Independent on Sunday.  Committed to sharing his knowledge with others, John has written a number of publications and speaks to audiences across Europe and America.

Sponsored by The Sheila McKechnie Foundation.

The quality of nominations for the 2016 Campaigner Awards was very high, this meant that some very worthy nominees just missed out on winning an Award. The judging panel would like to recognise the following individuals who were nominated, but did not win in their categories:

Heather Kennedy – who was nominated for her work on the Fair Funerals campaign. The campaign was launched in 2014 and is working with the funeral industry, government and the public to address funeral poverty, which prevents people from being able to afford a funeral for a loved one.

Kate Fielden and Kate Freeman – who are part of the Stonehenge Alliance and were nominated for their campaign to prevent further damage to the World Heritage Site (WHS) at Stonehenge, in particular from an expanded A303 which currently runs through the site. 

Shauneen Lambe – who co-founded Just for Kids Law in May 2006 and was nominated for orchestrating a number of campaigns and lobbying those in positions of power to create a youth justice system that is appropriate for the vulnerable young people who come into contact with it.

For more information on this years winners click HERE to view the 2016 awards brochure 


Award Winner Quote

“As young working class women from Newcastle, working as Teenage Domestic Violence Peer Educators at West End Women and Girls Centre, we are honoured to be awarded the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Gender Equality Campaigner  Award 2016.

To go to the House of Lords for the award ceremony and meet the other campaigners was truly inspiring and has made us even more passionate and determined to fight for social justice, equality and an end to violence against women and girls.

The award really supported our case to get another year’s funding for our work and we have been training other young women in the North East to act as Domestic Abuse Champions in their schools and colleges and to reach as many young people as possible.

By the end of 2016 we will have DV Champions in every school in Northumberland and Newcastle.”

Laura Christer and Sophie Murtha
Domestic Violence Peer Educators
Gender Equality Campaigner Award Winner 2016


To view previous award winners please click here 

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