Philip Lawrence Awards

Background to the Awards
The Philip Lawrence Awards was set up in memory of head teacher Philip Lawrence who was murdered outside his school in 1995 after going to the aid of a pupil who was being attacked by a gang. Philip believed in the huge potential of young people to make a difference and to achieve great things. His widow, Frances Lawrence, continues Philip’s legacy by championing young people and their achievements. She campaigned to establish the Philip Lawrence Awards and in 1997 Rt Hon Michael Howard, the then Home Secretary funded the first Philip Lawrence Awards. The awards were run from 2003 till 2011 with the support of the Home Office, and with the added support of the Department for Education from 2009.

PLAnet, the Philip Lawrence Awards Network, which was owned and managed by Nacro, was launched in December 2009. It brought a new dimension to the awards through access to Nacro’s nationwide network of young people’s services, which gave a larger number of young people more opportunities to get involved. It raised awareness of just how many groups of young people do extraordinary things for their communities, both big and small: leading the way, crossing divides, building bridges between young people and adults, and making their communities stronger and safer. Government funding for the award ended in 2011 following funding cuts. Nacro and Frances Lawrence continue to work collaboratively to develop a positive agenda for young people.

“We will support others – whether in Government, charities or community groups – in championing young people, challenging inequalities and unlocking their talents. We will be making the case to the Government from its starting point of being ‘positive for youth’.”

Frances Lawrence.

The launch of the PLAnet website in 2009 added a new element to the Philip Lawrence Awards as it facilitated the promotion of the services provided by 150 wide ranging youth focused projects across the UK. PLAnet also provided a platform to showcase the inspiring work of the 78 groups which were awarded the Philip Lawrence Award between 2003-11. It enabled the winning groups to spread the message of their fantastic work by raising their profile at local and national level and enabling the young people to become ambassadors for their work.

Through our work in education for young offenders, young people with complex needs and at risk of offending, and young people marginalised by society, Nacro continues to champion Philip Lawrence’s maxim that ‘Every child is capable of greatness.’ Most recently, we have been working with Frances Lawrence to tackle the different rates of progress between disadvantaged young people and their peers in the education system.
To find out more, read our report which called for a review into vocational education to ensure no child is left behind. It was launched in September 2016 and gained support from a cross-party group in parliament.



Raising Your Game

Raising Your Game was an initiative to improve the lives of young people with a learning or communication disability who have offended or are at risk of offending. These young people are at an increased risk of offending because they lack the right support. 23% of prisoners under 18 have a learning disability or difficulty. The project:

  • worked with young people with a learning or communication disability to increase levels of participation
  • developed services for young people with a learning disability who have offended or are at risk of offending
  • piloted participation in selected existing services and in new services for young people at risk of offending
  • disseminated the learning from the project, with the aim of achieving national recognition

“I would like to get a job, be independent, to go on holiday and to live on my own or with a friend.”




Working with our charity partners, we established regional groups that informed decision-makers in public and private organisations about the services and products needed by young people with a learning disability or communication disability who are at risk of offending.

Raising Your Game partnership
Nacro worked in partnership to deliver this programme with Mencap and I CAN with support from Big Lottery Fund.