Bright Future Prize

Empowering and investing in the next generation of community leaders.

The ACT Bright Future Prize 23/24 is now closed for entries! The shortlist of finalists will be announced at the start of 2024, who are in with a a chance of turning their ideas to make a difference into a reality through a dedicated £40,000 fund.

Launched in 2021, the Bright Future Prize empowers and invests in the next generation of leaders and innovators – those exceptional young people who are committed to driving positive change and inspiring others around the world. The opportunity is open to teenagers aged 13–19, who live anywhere The Ardonagh Group has a presence, including the UK, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece, the USA, South Africa and Gibraltar.

Our four Bright Future Prize categories

Each of our four prize categories connect to a different way young people can make a difference to the world around them. The winners of our categories will share the £40,000 prize fund to help make their bright idea for a community project a reality.

This category is all about the people you share your world with, whether that's a geographical area or a network of people you are connected to. Your cause or project might relate to a societal issue, health, wellbeing, education or something else that is important to your community.

This category is all about caring for the world we live in by looking after nature and the climate. Your cause or project might support green spaces, provide new ways to live sustainably, or something else that ensures the Earth will have a bright future.

This category is about creating new ways to bring about positive change. This might be a project or cause for an ethical business, a campaign, or something else that will enable a better way to live and engage with the world.

This category is all about sharing your passion so that even more people can enjoy and benefit from it too. Your project or cause might improve access to those who are less able to take part, promote outreach or inclusivity, or something else that will help bring what you love to more people in the community.

Inspired by a simple act

The Bright Future Prize was launched in the memory of Freddie Williams, the son of Ardonagh colleague David and his wife Sarah.

In 2015, aged seven, Freddie was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. When Freddie died four years later, the contents of his money box were donated to ACT with the message: “To help pay for special treats for the next poorly child.”

Freddie Williams (in who's memory the Bright future prize was set up for) in a helicopter flying over Anfield, in Liverpool

Freddie pictured flying over Anfield, the home ground of his favourite football team, Liverpool FC.

Freddie William's (in who's memory the Bright future prize was set up for) family standing outside a helicopter before flight

The Williams Family – Freddie together with his parents, David and Sarah, and his siblings Jack and Megan.

This simple act led to the creation of the Bright Future Prize, which enables young people to realise their dreams to make a positive impact in the communities that matter to them.

To continue Freddie’s legacy, David and Sarah help the ACT Trustees select our Bright Future Prize winners every year.

invested to date by ACT in community projects created by young people around the world.

Meet the Bright Future Prize 2022 winners

In 2022, the £40,000 prize fund was shared between winners across four different categories:

Your Vision
Your Passion
Your Community
Your Planet

Each project was different but linked by the young winners’ aim to make their community better, brighter and stronger. They received £10,000 (or equivalent local currency) to make their project a reality, alongside mentoring opportunities from ACT.

Supporting neurodivergent teens gain confidence and friends

The world is increasingly aware of the needs of people who identify as neurodivergent, which includes autism, dyslexia and Tourette’s. But there’s still more that can be done to support neurodivergence.

Kaydi Scottsville’s own experience of autism revealed the lack of support available in schools. When she initially left school at 14, she felt very isolated. It made Kaydi want to help other young people and their families have a different journey.

Kaydi initially set up her non-profit, Diversified, as a platform to sell affordable sensory toys. Since then, it has turned into a fully-fledged charity with online and face-to-face programmes for teenagers and families.

Now, thanks to Bright Future Prize, Kaydi has opened a physical home for Diversified, so that its services can be accessed by even more young people in and around West Lothian. In 2023, we were also delighted to share that Diversified had won national recognition, awarded Scottish Charity of the Year and Kaydi has since been nominated as a finalist in the National Lottery Awards in the Young Hero category.

Upcycling school uniform to give back

Uniformity upcycles school uniforms, enabling parents at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ School in Blackburn to donate and purchase used clothing via an innovative e-commerce platform. But here’s the difference – the profits go straight into funding the school’s food bank.

Muhammad coordinates all the dry cleaning and organising stock to get it to parents. Now, as the social enterprise is growing, the team have set their sights on expanding to more schools in the area.

Thanks to funding from Bright Future Prize, Uniformity are planning to purchase their own dry cleaning machine to reduce costs and upgrade their online platform to make it simpler to donate and purchase clothing.

Creating innovative wooden wind turbines

Sara’s bright idea started with the desire to find a more environmentally friendly way to generate wind power. Traditional fibreglass wind turbine blades are expensive and can’t be recycled. In fact, 43 million tons of fibreglass will end up in landfill by 2050. To tackle this, Sara has designed an eco-turbine blade made from wood, which she’s been testing and refining for over a year.

Sara’s design is ready to move from 3D modelling software to the machine, and she plans to purchase a computerised manufacturing machine to begin producing her blades to create self-build kits. Sara initially plans to sell her blades locally, but ultimately, she wants to take them across the world, particularly in Africa where affordable, renewable and reliable energy is so important to establish.

Since winning, Sara has continued to develop her idea, visiting an aerospace business to learn from experts and showcasing her own idea to charities and organisations. She's on track to purchase her own machine to begin producing the blades and taking her project to the next stage.

Helping 'Ninja Nannas' combat loneliness and share memories

Jeffrey earned his black belt in karate aged just 13, and in the four years since has used his skills to set up his own non-profit organisation Golden Age Karate, where he teaches martial arts to senior citizens (aka his 'Ninja Nannas') in local nursing homes. Having seen his own grandparents experience loneliness, he wanted to make sure older people living away from their family had something to look forward to. Whether they’re aged 70 or 101, Jeffrey believes his students have so much to learn and enjoy!

Jeffrey’s idea is to bring together this work with his other major passion – film. He wants to create a documentary that showcases the stories behind his Ninja Nannas, highlighting their life experiences and value to the community. Jeffrey previously appeared in a film that led to him setting up several new chapters in more nursing homes. Through this documentary he will go a step further to inspire other people to give back to older people who are local to them – whether that be martial arts or something else entirely.

Using the prize funding, Jeffrey has been able to work alongside experts to develop and edit his film, which features a whole array of his Ninja Nannas. Having just started at college, majoring in film, Jeffrey is further honing his own skills too. We can't wait to see the memories and stories the project brings to life very soon!