The Good Help Award

How purpose and confidence transform lives
6th February 2018
Submission deadline
18th May 2018
Shortlist announced
8th June 2018
Exploration workshop
12th July 2018
Celebration event
September 2018 (tbc)

The issue

How we help each other matters. Some help - what we call ‘good help’ - supports people to feel hopeful, identify their own purpose and confidently take action. Other help - which we call ‘bad help’ - does the opposite, undermining people's confidence, sense of purpose and independence.  

Whether people want to improve their health, find work, or get the most out of education, ‘good help’ involves understanding what matters to each person and supporting them to build the confidence they need to take action.

‘Good help’ is core to many organisations trying to help people take action and improve their lives.  Yet despite decades of research and good practice, ‘good help’ remains absent from many mainstream services and social programmes.  Too many people receive ‘bad help’.  

‘Bad help’ can have acute and obvious consequences, such as homelessness or addiction, but also chronic and subtle effects which make activities, such as parenting and healthy eating, much harder, and sometimes impossible.

The Good Help Award is one way that we hope to find out more about ‘good help’ and how it helps people take action.  We want to find out who is providing ‘good help’ and to celebrate and share the vital work they are doing.

To find out more about how we define ‘good help’ and to see examples, see the ‘Good and bad help’ publication at

The award

The Good Help Award will reward an organisation or team that demonstrates they are helping people transform their lives  by helping them develop their sense of purpose and confidence to take action.

There are three awards available - one £15,000 winner, and two £5,000 runners up. The winners of these awards will be asked to spend the money on activities that support their ‘good help’ work.

  • One winner


  • Two runners up

    £5,000 each

We will use the award process to identify and celebrate all of the most promising ‘good help’ projects - not just the three winners - and will be looking for opportunities to share best practice and learning in ways that can help them all increase their impact.


The award is open to anyone offering ‘good help’ in the UK through an established project, programme or service. Applicants must meet all four of the following criteria:

Organisations or teams from within the public, voluntary, community or social enterprise sectors

Commissioners and/or providers

Projects, programmes or services that have been operational for at least 12 months

‘Good help’ organisations based in the UK

Although we have defined ‘good help’ in our publication, we will continue to learn and refine our definition of ‘good help’. At this stage we would welcome applications from anyone who thinks they are offering ‘good help’. We look forward to finding out about your approach and how it helps people take action.


The Award launch

6th February 2018
We are inviting applicants to submit an expression of interest online. This involves submitting a short online form and a supporting video of no more than three minutes. If you would prefer not to submit a video, please let us know.

Deadline for submissions

18th May 2018
Submissions close at 12 noon on 18th May. Please make sure that you are ready to submit your application in advance of this deadline.

Shortlist announced

8th June 2018

We will shortlist up to ten of the most promising examples of ‘good help’, based on the criteria outlined above. Shortlisting will be undertaken by the team from Nesta’s Health Lab and Osca.

Exploration workshop

12 July 2018
We will host a workshop for the ten shortlisted entries to develop their ideas. Applicants will meet with people from Nesta’s Health Lab and Osca, the judges and potential partners to review and iterate the ideas together. Following the event, our judges will assess the final entries and select the three winners.

Celebration event

13th September 2018 date TBC
Winners will be announced and there will be an opportunity for all attendees to share their ideas and form connections.