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Third Sector Awards 2017: Small Charity, Big Achiever - Autism Life Dogs and On Road

Awarded to an organisation with an income of less than £500,000 a year that has made a significant impact with its work

What did Autism Life Dogs do?

Since its launch in 2014, Autism Life Dogs has placed more than 40 assistance dogs as life-long companions to children who are on the autistic spectrum. The dogs are trained in a unique therapy programme of games, activities and interventions to aid the development of physical, cognitive, life and social skills. They also support speech and language and social interaction, regulate sensory issues and reduce anxieties and challenging behaviours. 

The charity trains and supports parents, teachers and therapists in how to implement the therapy programme with a child and a dog, and has been able to offer employment opportunities to parents who have been otherwise unable to work. 

What did the judges say? 

"This charity is doing good work in helping its beneficiaries and has some bold plans," said Andrew O’Brien, head of policy and engagement at the Charity Finance Group.

What did On Road do? 

On Road is a charity that tackles social problems by improving media coverage of misrepresented groups and issues. Its campaign, All About Trans, aimed to transform the visibility and portrayal of transgender people in the UK media.

The charity organised informal but carefully curated meet-ups between members of the trans community and high-level media professionals in a bid to challenge media stereotypes. The project involved 246 trans and 390 media participants, and led to more than 500 positive portrayals of trans people in the media. This included the introduction of transgender characters in EastEnders and Hollyoaks, both played by trans actors. 

What did the judges say? 

"A clever approach adopted as a means to achieving positive media coverage to a mainstream audience," said Camilla Bowry, founder of Sal's Shoes.  

Highly commended

The Bike Project

Pregnancy Sickness Support

Finalist

British Hen Welfare Trust

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