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CPRE wins at Charity Awards

8 June 2023

CPRE, the countryside charity, wins at the Charity Awards 2023

CPRE, the countryside charity, is delighted to announce that it has taken the top prize in the Animals & the Environment category at this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.

CPRE, the countryside charity, was recognised for its campaign to persuade the government to set the first-ever target for planting or restoring hedgerows across the UK.

The UK’s hedgerow network is its largest nature reserve, yet it has halved in size over the last eight decades, largely because of new farming practices and property development.

After the Climate Change Committee recommended that the hedgerow network should be increased by 40% by 2050, CPRE launched its “40by50” campaign in July 2021 to encourage the government to implement this target.

The charity adopted 40by50 as its next “hero campaign”, meaning it would be prioritised across the entire organisation and should also feed into the charity’s wider corporate objectives. The integrated campaign plan involved research reports, farmer surveys, media activity, petitions, site visits, parliamentary events, planting projects and more.

Simultaneously, each local CPRE was tasked with laying out what they could do to raise awareness of hedgerows and influence the government to agree to the target.

Eighteen months later, the government announced the introduction of the first-ever hedgerow target to create or restore 30,000 miles of hedgerows by 2037 and 45,000 miles of hedgerows by 2050. It also almost doubled the farm subsidy payment to incentivise farmers to engage in hedgerow restoration.

Alongside the nine other category winners, the Overall Winner and the recipient of the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, CPRE was presented with the trophy at a black-tie ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on 7 June, hosted by broadcaster, commentator and writer Ayesha Hazarika.

The Charity Awards shortlist is chosen by an independent panel of expert judges, themselves all eminent figures in the charity sector. The judges score each entry against six Hallmarks of Excellence before coming together for two days of challenge and discussion to select the winners.

Matt Nolan, chief executive of Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated CPRE, the countryside charity on winning the highly-coveted award. He said:

“Against the backdrop of a devastating pandemic followed closely by an eye-watering cost-of-living crisis, the external environment has seldom been more challenging for UK charities. Yet the standard of entries in this year’s Charity Awards proves that the sector is as resilient, tenacious and effective as it has ever been. To win an award is a real badge of honour, and the team at CPRE, the countryside charity should be truly proud of their achievements.”

Peter Hugh Smith, chief executive at Overall Awards Partner CCLA, said:

“Given everything that charities have been through over the last few years, it is vitally important that we continue to promote their endeavours and celebrate excellence in charity management and leadership. This is why CCLA is proud to be the Charity Awards’ Overall Partner again this year – so we can play our part in highlighting the fantastic work of charities large and small, right across the UK.

“All the category winners have demonstrated the highest standards and are truly leaders in their fields. The countryside charity’s award is richly deserved and I offer huge congratulations to their team.”

Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

“Hedgerows shape our countryside, are a haven for wildlife, remove carbon to help tackle climate change and support sustainable local economies. In towns and cities too, they clean the air and provide shade and shelter for urban wildlife. Shockingly, we have lost half our hedgerows since the Second World War.

“In July 2021, CPRE launched a campaign calling for the government to set a national target to increase the hedgerow network by 40% by 2050, as recommended by the Climate Change Committee. Just 18 months later the government introduced the first ever hedgerow target in its 25-year environment plan.

“The Charity Award is wonderful recognition of the importance of CPRE’s work to protect what is, in its full expanse, our largest and most connected nature reserve. But our campaign is not over – we will continue to champion the national target and hold the government to account for it. Across the country the network of county CPRE groups will be planting and restoring hedgerows and engaging local communities with their care.”

The Shortlist and Winners 2023

OVERALL WINNER: Freedom from Torture



Animals & the Environment

WINNER: CPRE, the countryside charity

British Hen Welfare Trust

The Rivers Trust

Arts, Culture & Heritage

WINNER: Seenaryo

Raw Material

Tender Education and Arts

Campaigning & Advocacy

WINNER: Freedom from Torture

Campaign for Better Transport

Solace Women’s Aid

Children & Youth

WINNER: Sister System

Safer London

Kumon Y’all


WINNER: My Life My Choice


Lightyear Foundation and Flamingo Chicks

Education & Training

WINNER: South West Grid for Learning

Diverse Cymru

Support Through Court

Grantmaking & Funding


Winner the Preston Road Women’s Centre


Healthcare & Medical Research

WINNER: The Fishermen’s Mission

St David’s Hospice Care


International Aid & Development

WINNER: Our Sansar

Hospices of Hope

Sreepur Village Bangladesh

Social Care, Advice & Support

WINNER: Refuge

Affordable Justice

Islington Mind