Meet the Judges of the 2023 Celebrating Forces Families Awards

The Judging of the ten Celebrating Forces Families Awards happens today (1 March 2023) in London where the winners of each Award are selected.

The 2023 Judging Panel is headed up by last year’s Overcoming Adversity winner, Nikki Scott (founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers) with fellow judging panellists from key areas of the Armed Forces community:

Nikki Scott (BEM) is the founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers – the charity for bereaved military children and young people and Head Judge this year for the CFF Awards. 

After Nikki’s husband was killed in action whilst serving in Afghanistan, she saw the devastating impact on her young children and decided to set up a charity, which has gone on to support hundreds of British Forces children bereaved of a military parent. Scotty’s Little Soldiers provides its members with a variety of specialist bereavement support throughout their childhood, to remind them they are not alone.

Paula Molyneux, Barclays Military and Veterans Outreach (MVO) Team as Headline Sponsors

Paula joined Barclays Corporate Social Responsibility team in 2008, managing large scale charity partnerships. Since 2016 she has led the Barclays Armed Forces Transition, Resettlement and Employment (AFTER) programme. She leads a team of colleagues to deliver employability support to Service Leavers, Veterans and Military Spouses/partners. The Military Talent Scheme is a flagship programme of MVO, which has helped over 300 service leavers (all ranks, all Services) into permanent roles with Barclays.

Paula has never Served, but her passion and commitment to help the Armed Forces community has been integral to the growth of Barclays MVO for the last decade.

Neil ‘Jacko’ Jackson, Director of the Defence Relationship Management Team

Jacko served as a senior Army officer completing operational tours around the world and postings in the UK MOD, Army Headquarters, the UN and NATO.

He was appointed as the Director of Defence Relationship Management (DRM) in 2019. DRM works with employers and organisations across the UK to develop mutually beneficial partnerships that support the Armed Forces community of Reservists, Service Leavers, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, the Cadet Movement, the Wounded, Injured & Sick and military spouses & partners. The Armed Forces Covenant and the Employer Recognition Scheme (delivered by DRM) are key to this partnership. Jacko was recently awarded Chartered Fellowship of the CIPD.

Maggie Pedder, Former 2022 Family Volunteer of the Year Award winner

Maggie Pedder is an HR professional having worked in the retail and financial sectors before setting up her own consultancy business over 20 years ago. She was also an Army wife for over 30 years, accompanying her husband on various postings, including tours in Germany and Scotland. She also has a wealth of experience as a trustee and board member of various organisations such as the Military Wives Choirs, Army Families Federation and Army Widows Association to name just a few!

As a military wife, she understands the many challenges and joys of being part of a Forces family and the importance of those organisations and individuals who provide support and friendship to our unique military community.

Lt Gen Sir Nicholas Pope KCB CBE, Chair of The Confederation of Service Charities

Lt Gen Sir Nicholas Pope KCB CBE is the Chair of The Confederation of Service Charities. During a forty year military career, General Nicholas witnessed how the Army and Defence accommodated change both in peace and on operations. He saw service in Bosnia and Afghanistan and held staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence at every rank from Major to Major General, where his focus was on the higher management of Defence.

He remains an avid gardener and a keen canoeist, paddling with enthusiasm but no real technique.

Sarah Clewes, Chief Executive Officer, Naval Families Federation

Sarah enjoyed a long and successful career in the Royal Navy, serving in the Logistics Branch for over 20 years, both ashore and at sea and joins the panel representing all three – Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations.

She joined the Naval Families Federation as the interim Chief Executive Officer in January 2022 and secured the permanent role in October. Underpinned by her service in the Royal Navy and charity background, her passion lies in enabling families to thrive in communities of their choice.

Sarah has contributed to military charities herself in a number of voluntary roles; as the Chairman of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Widows’ Association, Trustee for the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, and most recently as a Trustee of e50K a social values enterprise.

CFF Chair, Sarah Walker adds:

“The CFF Event Team are delighted to have this year’s judges working with us. All of them are clearly very experienced in their own right as members of the Armed Forces Community.

”I’m sure you will agree that each will bring a different angle to the table when it comes to reviewing our finalists and having the unenviable task of picking a winner from each of the ten separate awards.”

The Awards evening

Friday 28th April 2023 will see a formal dinner and awards ceremony held at the Victory Services Club, London. The Awards are supported by the Ministry of Defence through its Partner Employment Working Group.

Actor and SSAFA Ambassador, Antony Cotton is also returning as a guest presenter at the Awards.

Follow the CFF Team as the 2023 events unfold:

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