News: WCMT publishes 2019 annual report

Published: 1 Jul 2020

News: WCMT publishes 2019 annual report

Today we publish our annual report for 2019, detailing WCMT’s activities over the past year.

In 2019 we awarded 150 Churchill Fellowships to outstanding individuals in search of innovative solutions for today’s most pressing problems. These Fellows will travel to 80 countries on six continents, researching new approaches to current challenges such as drug crime, air pollution, community food banks and digital health technology.

“The Churchill Fellowship is a remarkable scheme. It is a network of 3,700 current and active Fellows who are spearheading innovation and change in every area of society. It is also a living bridge of people and ideas between the UK and the wider world. Its relevance and value will continue to grow as our country evolves its global position.” - Jeremy Soames, Chairman

Read Jeremy's blog

Here are some case studies of Fellows’ achievements in the year: 

To support Fellows’ projects when they return to the UK, this year we launched a dedicated post-travel grant programme, the Activate Fund. This start-up fund offers grants of £4,000-£20,000 in the crucial period when Fellows return and start to implement their findings. We gave our first awards in June 2020 to seven Fellows, forming part of a dedicated support package encompassing funds and non-financial assistance. The scheme is a three-year pilot and donors will be sought in due course.

In response to emerging issues in UK society, we also launched three new categories for award in 2020: Palliative and End of Life Care, Physical Activity for Healthier Lives, and Arts for the Built Environment. The evolution of our award categories each year is carried out with our Advisory Council, who are distinguished specialists in their fields and provide us with subject knowledge, sector contacts and promotional platforms.

Each year we monitor Fellows’ impact. This year’s survey showed that: 

  • 86% of Fellows surveyed saw themselves as sector leaders as a result of their Fellowship. 
  • 79% had presented their findings to others. 
  • 72% had developed an international knowledge network.  
  • 61% had created change in their place of work. 
  • 14% had set up their own organisation to further their Fellowship project.  

Here are some of their comments about the effect of the Fellowship: 

  • “It has been one of the most special and significant moments in my life, which has helped to shape me as a person, develop resilience, understand culturally, travel more and helped to inspire hundreds of young people in schools.” 
  • “It has changed completely how I work and how I perceive my field and the level at which I now work.” 
  • “Becoming a Fellow made me take my role more seriously, and Churchill’s phrase ‘with opportunity comes responsibility’ is now part of my life. Because of the Fellowship, I now feel an obligation to do more voluntary work. I wouldn't have taken on the non-exec Chair of a national sporting governing body if I hadn't been given the opportunity to travel and learn about the sport in other countries.” 
  • “I had the courage to work towards leaving employment and starting a career which is more entrepreneurial. I am so proud of my business now and the way I look after and teach and value my staff.” 
  • “The personal growth I achieved from the Fellowship… I had never been abroad on my own before, overcoming language barriers, being lost in an unfamiliar country, being frightened at times. I now believe that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to. This is the same principle that I try to instil in the students at school in order to help them achieve their very best and even go beyond.” 

This year’s applicants for Fellowships came from all four nations of the UK, all ages and all social groups. A key characteristic of the Fellowship is that we are open to Fellows from all parts of society, regardless of their background, qualifications or age.  

Read our 2019 annual report

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