As easy as A-B-Sea: Annushka and Abas read together at Hackney Pirates. Photograph: Hackney Pirates

As easy as A-B-Sea: Annushka and Abas read together at Hackney Pirates. Photograph: Hackney Pirates

Local children’s literacy charity Hackney Pirates have been crowned winners of the national Small Charity Big Impact Award, having fought off competition from hundreds of other small charities around the country.

The Kingsland Road-based charity, who helped an estimated 520 young people aged 9 to 12 in the last year, won the award in the ‘small charity with an income between £250,001 – £500,000’ category.

In a sign of how important the charity’s work has become to the local community, one Young Pirate said: “It changed my confidence at putting hands up in the class and answering questions…I used to be scared that I’d get lots of things wrong, so I did not put my hand up.”

Jude Williams, chief executive of Hackney Pirates, is delighted to have won the prestigious award: “We are really proud of having built something within Hackney, for Hackney children and with support from so many residents and beyond.

“We want to increase the number of young people touched by Hackney Pirates’ learning programme [and] invite everyone to find a way to support us to do that, so our impact continues to win awards and serve Hackney.”

The Pirates will also benefit from a film to help promote their charity, and will feature in a commemorative book to be delivered to 10 Downing Street.

The charity, which has been operating in the area since 2010, aims to develop the literacy, confidence and perseverance of young people in Hackney, equipping the children with the life-skills needed to achieve academically and beyond.

Pauline Broomhead, CEO of FSI, which organises the awards, heaped praise on Pirates’ win, saying: “they clearly show how they measure impact, use it to improve their services and share it to build trust. We would like to congratulate Hackney Pirates on their award and their fantastic work.

“Small charities (those with an annual turnover under £1.5 million) make over 97% of the charity sector, yet their amazing work and impact can often be drowned out.”

The FSI Small Charity Big Impact Awards are a way to highlight the work of small charities and the impact they make on a local, national and international level.

FSI aims to give small charities the strategic support they need to keep their doors open and continue their vital work in local communities.

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