The Horn Development Association were the winners of the Third Sector Business of the Year which was kindly sponsored by United Purpose. We caught up with the team to find out how they found the award experience.
1. Why did you enter the Cardiff Business Awards?
We entered the awards because we thought that we were doing excellent work and that this type of recognition would be very valuable to us, particularly as all of our work is completely funded by various grants. It would enable us to showcase our work on grant applications, especially to large funders like the National Lottery who were our main funders for 3 and a half years since 2017.
2. What does winning a Cardiff Business Award mean to your business?
The immediate impact is of course the recognition of what we have been able to achieve and provide for the community and so many families throughout the pandemic as well as our wide range of community projects. We have already started advertising our success on new grant funding applications and it has also raised our profile in the community.
3. How do you strive to make a difference in the Cardiff Business market?
We work mainly in the districts of Grangetown, Butetown, Riverside and Splott which are amongst the higher multi-cultural and areas of multi deprivation not only in Cardiff but the whole country. We continually access a range of grants to provide youth and community provisions for a wide range of challenges. We have a well resourced youth and community club with a gym, professional music studio, community garden, social area and kitchen, all free to use by the community. We run health and wellbeing provisions for young people, an over 50’s club, community volunteering and we provide a wide range of free qualifications and work experience opportunities.
We run a range of sporting opportunities which have resulted over the years in young people from these areas gaining International honours and recognition for boys and girls representing Wales in Football, Athletics, Cross Country and Boxing and at some high profile music events in singing and street dance.
We have also hosted and participated in many youth exchanges and youth work training and in 2019-2020 we ran two highly successful exchanges in Cardiff, each with 35 young people from 7 countries (different each time) on mental health and fitness and integration of migrants through art forms (music, dance and art/graffiti). We also sent teenagers to Norway and Spain for both winter and summer sporting activities, to Turkey for football and a range of countries for training as diverse as Ukraine, Portugal, Estonia and Bulgaria amongst others. All of the European opportunities for both young people and youth workers are all totally free of charge.
4. What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Of course, a lot depends on the pandemic. Our work mainly involves direct contact with the community and in our youth and community centre, so the first thing we need is the centre open again and be able to allow groups back in, in the case of young people and with regards to music and sport, without the need for social distancing. Until such time, we are manly continuing to provide support for more than 300 families in the area. We daily collect and distribute free food from supermarkets to families and also gathering and providing clothes and toys as well. As for all of the European work, it will depend on Brexit agreements.
5. What is the biggest lesson you have learned in the past year as a company?
This past year was a year like no other in history for everybody. We had to totally abandon all of our regular work and learn a lot about how to negotiate with supermarkets etc for food donations, co-ordinate with volunteers and partners and find ways of communication and researching within the communities what was needed and most of all who required support and how often. Then we had to design almost a military like operation to gather box and deliver supplies, not just in our own community but all across Cardiff in response to requests from families in need.
6. What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring business owner?
Well particularly in these uncertain times, be flexible, be ready to change the way you think and the way you work so that no matter what the pandemic brings you are ready to respond.
7. What did you think of the virtual awards ceremony?
I’m sure like everybody, we were initially disappointed that we couldn’t have a nice awards ceremony, even more so as we won an award, But that being said, we found the virtual ceremony exceptionally well run and very exciting. During these difficult times we have had a number of virtual conferences and meetings and in many cases the were technical difficulties that spoiled the event or made things very difficult and disappointing.
In total honesty, this was the best run and most efficient of them all and not just the ceremony, but the session we originally had with the judging panel was also excellent, throughout both these events we felt it was without a doubt the best virtual involvements that we have had in all of the pandemic and we give our congratulations and thanks to the brilliant technical team that made these run so smoothly and on presentation night itself provided great drama, moreso for us as excited winners.