The Co-operative Group and British Gas are among the big winners at the Business Charity Awards

Divisions of the Co-op picked up three prizes and the energy supplier took Business of the Year at last night's ceremony in London

The winners at this year's Business Charity Awards
The winners at this year's Business Charity Awards

A partnership between the trade body for outdoor media companies and the charity Missing People that led to 34 people being found was among the winners at Third Sector’s Business Charity Awards last night.

Outdoor Media Centre won the Cause-Related Marketing award for securing more than £10m-worth of free digital billboard space to help the charity track down missing people.

A total of 19 awards were presented at the black-tie event, supported by headline sponsor the Charities Aid Foundation and hosted by the BBC TV news presenter Huw Edwards, at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane, London. The Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, gave an opening speech.

Three prizes went to the Co-operative Group – Community Impact, Overseas Project and Outstanding Employee. The last of these awards was won by Janet Cleverley, a mortgages operations manager at the Co-operative Bank, who inspired more than 200 of her colleagues to become involved in charity projects last year.

The coveted prize of Business of the Year went to British Gas for its work with a range of charity partners, including the housing and homelessness charity Shelter and the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Michael Tobin, chief executive of the TelecityGroup, won Business Charity Champion. Tobin’s company runs secure IT and telecoms data centres and he has introduced policies that encourage its employees to give in-kind and financial support to local charities. He has also been instrumental in raising significant sums for charities including the Loomba Trust, a charity that supports widows and orphaned children.

Hurd told the 400 guests that in difficult economic times charities needed the help of the business community more than ever before, but charities could also help businesses overcome the reputational problems they face.

 "We have to recognise that our business leaders have a huge challenge around trust," he said. "Increasingly people are beginning to choose where they shop or work based on an organisation’s values, how they behave and what they put back.

"More business leaders are getting this, which makes it incredibly exciting because when partnerships between charities and companies work really well, the magic and the value flow both ways - and we should celebrate that as a country and as a society."

- See our gallery of photographs from the evening

The winners

Business Charity Champion: Michael Tobin

Business of the Year: British Gas

Charity Partnership: BSkyB with WWF

Charity Partnership – Retail and Leisure: B&Q with the Scout Association

Charity Partnership – Financial and Professional: LV= with SOS Kit Aid

Charity Partnership – Short Term: Thomson Reuters Elite with St Mungo's

Charity Partnership – Small Businesses: Belu Water with WaterAid

Affinity Marketing: RSA with Motability

Cause-Related Marketing: Outdoor Media Centre with Missing People

Corporate Foundation: Wates Giving

Challenge Event: Lloyds Banking Group with Save the Children

Challenge Event – Small Businesses: PMW Communications with the Dame Vera Lynn Trust

Employee Engagement: Morrisons

Employment Scheme: Plumbing Trade Supplies with Leicestershire Cares

Outstanding Employee: Janet Cleverley

CSR Team: NFU Mutual

Single Project: RWE npower with Macmillan Cancer Support

Community Impact: The Co-operative Enterprise Hub

Overseas Project: The Co-operative with Unicef

- Read about all the winners

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