Covid Aid pair are finalists in Rising Star and Rising Chief Executive categories at Third Sector Awards

Head of Community Emma Williams has been shortlisted for Rising Star, and Michael MacLennan for Rising Chief Executive, at the prestigious Third Sector Awards.

The UK's leading charity awards, The Third Sector Awards celebrates the achievements of non-profit organisations across the country, with results to be announced in September.

Rising Star

Shortlisted in the Rising Star category, Emma’s entry notes:

“Emma has been integral to the success of Covid Aid, which is our first year reached more than 100,000 people. As Head of Community she launched and has built our Support Community which within months now hosts 1-to-1 listening support, expert live Q&As, high-quality self-management courses, tailored support groups, in-depth resource packs, and much more.

“Most importantly she has done so in collaboration with the community members, enabling and empowering them to lead the way while working tireless to ensure that all support and services are as accessible as possible – crucial for those with Long Covid who often experience cognitive difficulties and fatigue. Through her tireless efforts she has fostered a positive and collaborative spirit, which has extended to partnerships with the likes of Asthma & Lung UK, Cruse Bereavement Support, and others who have been inspired by the considered and methodical approach she has taken since day one. By doing so she has developed strategies and templates which can be employed by other third sector organisations, meaning we can act as a supportive platform for the charities whose resources have been continually stretched by the pandemic. Emma has been an inspiration for all involved with the charity.”

Emma said: “I am so thrilled to have been nominated in this year's Third Sector Awards for the Rising Star category and look forward to representing my wider team, incredible volunteers, trustees and wonderful members of the Covid Aid Support Community - sharing with others in this sector, the vital power that community-driven platforms can have on peoples lives.

“It has been an honour to build a community with Covid Aid and my hope is that it will in this case help serve as a stark reminder of the long-standing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are currently more than two million people in the UK living with Long Covid, many of whom feel completely let down by their healthcare providers, are on long waiting lists for long covid clinics and are struggling immensely to come to terms with the loss of who they once were – at the same time as they battle a multitude of distressing symptoms on a daily basis, impacting their jobs, families and quality of life.

“There are also over 200,000 people who lost their lives to Covid, leaving behind the families, friends and loved ones who are now living with the trauma of losing their loved ones in such unimaginable ways.

“It is in this that a sense of togetherness and belonging can offer a welcome sigh of relief for many who find the covid aid support community platform - a community that can lean on each other, offer support but more importantly a glimmer of hope that they are not alone.”

Images of Third Sector Awards finalists Emma Williams and Michael MacLennan
Third Sector Awards finalists Emma Williams and Michael MacLennan

Rising Chief Executive

Shortlisted in the Rising Chief Executive category, Michael’s entry notes:

“Within a year Michael has built a charity which has reached more than 100,000 people through an innovative startup approach, providing a range of services and support for those significantly affected by Covid-19 in the UK. As part of its mission, he has also looked to ensure that the charity can act as a platform which boosts stretched third sector organisations, working in collaboration with them to form a supportive network.

“Michael pioneered the creation of Covid Aid's innovative Support Community platform: a professionally managed online safe space featuring live expert Q&As, tailored support groups, and interactive courses in conjunction with other charities. He established a website hub which hosts more than 175 in-depth Advice and Information articles addressing a diverse range of needs, and Michael has forged a large number collaborative partnerships with the likes of the NHS, Marie Curie, and Asthma & Lung UK. He has achieved all this despite spending under £31,000 in the charity’s first year, less than the average salary of a full-time UK employee. Volunteering his time throughout, Michael has worked tirelessly to built connections and form a strong network of collaborative stakeholders, personally recruiting a first-class board and getting 60 volunteers on board.”

Covid Aid has previously been shortlisted for multiple awards during 2022 including in The StartUp Awards National Series, the Scottish Charity Awards, as well as the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Information about the Third Sector Awards

Third Sector says of the Awards:

One of Third Sector's most important missions – and passions – is to recognise the achievements of charities and provide a platform for examples of good practice.  

The Third Sector Awards provide an opportunity for voluntary organisations of all sizes, and the people who work for them, to celebrate their work and the real difference they make to society.

Whether it is supporting beneficiaries, raising awareness of crucial issues or driving best practice among their peers, the vital contributions of charities cannot be overstated. We want to use Third Sector's platform to thank the individuals and teams working their hardest to deliver at a time when they have never been more needed.

  • The Third Sector Awards Ceremony takes place at The Brewery in London on Friday 30 September 2022. Find out more about the event, including the full shortlist, at:

Covid Aid is reliant on YOUR donations to provide support to those hit by Long Covid, grief and bereavement, and other Covid-related issues