The BAFM Newsletter Award is an annual award open to all member groups whose subscriptions are paid at the closing date for entries. The closing date for entries is 15th July each year. BAFM believes in the value of excellent communication with members. We also sincerely believe that newsletters, whether print or electronic or blogs should be as good – and as entertaining – as Friends can possibly make them, within reasonable financial constraints. To encourage Groups to join in this campaign for better Newsletters, our Annual Competition recognizes and applauds the best. The publications or electronic or blogs need not be lavish, expensive or of a professional standard. Even if the group can fund only a single sheet Newsletter, if it is eye catching, interesting, entertaining and serves its purpose well, then we want to see it. Newsletters are important to your members and deserve wider recognition. The BAFM Annual Newsletter Competition attracts a wide range of entries and produces a wide range of winners from ‘professional’ class to ‘shoe-string’ editions. The award is split into three categories:

  1. Groups with less than 250 members,
  2. Groups with between 251 and 750 members
  3. Groups with 751 members and above

In each class we have a winner and a runner up – that is six prizes in all. The winners are announced at the BAFM AGM and Conference and are awarded a cheque for £250, plus a framed certificate. Runners-up receive a cheque for £100 and a framed certificate. If there should be a tie for winner or for runner-up, the prize may be shared between the tied entrants. Winners (but not runners-up) are barred from entering the competition in the year following their success.

2019 Winners Congratulations to all our 2019 winners
There were no runners up this year.

Category 1 (small – groups with fewer than 250 members)

  • Winner: Friends of Oakwell Hall & Country Park

  • Runner Up: –

Category 2: (medium – 251 – 750 members)

  • Winner: Friends of Lyme Regis Philpot Museum

  • Runner Up: –

Category 3: (large – 751 members and above)

  • WinnerFriends of the Ulster Museum

  • Runner Up: –


Newsletters, e-newsletters and blogs eligible to enter the competition are those published by fully paid-up members of BAFM during the year following the previous competition. Any issue produced after 1st June and before the following 30th June can be submitted. In addition, in deciding whether a newsletter is eligible, the panel of judges will wish to be satisfied that it actually is a newsletter and not just a vehicle for publishing learned articles or pieces of research. It should be produced and mainly funded by the Friends and not by the institution’s paid staff. Any sponsorship must be declared. Three copies of the single issue being entered for the competition should be sent to the Newsletter Competition Organiser so that it arrives before 15th July each year. Please put “BAFM NEWSLETTER” followed by the name of your friends’ group at the start of all submission correspondence – certainly in the subject heading of emails.

Alex Walker Editor – interim 22 Carlton Road, Bolton BL1 5HU e mail: 

Applications must include the following information:

  1. Name of group and number of members
  2. Name of newsletter and number of issues per annum
  3. Editor’s name and contact details, telephone and email
  4. Details of any assistance, financial or otherwise, from any other than Friends
  5. Any special notes or comments that you wish to bring to the Judges’ attention.

Entries of e-newsletters are now accepted, but must in all other respects meet the criteria laid out above. Emailed entries may need to be printed and circulated for judging to take place. Groups should be mindful that when their work is downloaded into hard copy, for direct comparison with other entries, there may be some loss of sharpness. Publications with numerous photographs may not be within normal email transmission capacity. The use of Dropbox or similar file transfer is within the scope of the competition. Winners and runners-up will be notified, by letter or email from the Editor, at the beginning of August and prizes and certificates will be presented by the President at BAFM’s Annual Conference and AGM, in September. Winners will be asked to protect the confidentially of the result until then. Winners should notify the Conference Organiser of the name of the person who will be receiving the award. If they do not have a representative there, the relevant Area Co-ordinator will collect the award on their behalf and present it at one of the group’s meetings, on behalf of BAFM.

NEWSLETTER AWARDS: What are we looking for ?

  • The Newsletter should be a credit to your Museum or Gallery
  • It should have a distinctive recognizable style which is all your own
  • The publication should be a Friends Newsletter, and not a Journal published by the museum you support.
  • It should have contributions from a variety of people, including ordinary members – it should not be a publication just written by and for the committee.
  • As BAFM is sponsoring the prizes we would appreciate a mention!

Does your newsletter contain information of wider interest than the immediate Friends group or committee? Topics and points of discussion and interest in the wider world of the Heritage sector avoid the pitfalls in a too parochial approach. The Judging points system will cover: 20 points – Content: readability and interest. Does it appeal to its target readership yet avoid being parochial? 10 points – General Appearance: format and style. Would it attract new readers? 10 points – Attractive layout and imaginative use of illustrations and photographs. 10 points – Originality: Does it stand out from similar publications? 10 points – Friends’ news, how to join, coming and recent events, contacts 10 points – News from and about BAFM or WFFM or at least a supportive mention 10 points – Contributions from more than 1 or 2 members, not solely by and for the committee 10 points – A credit to the group and museum: careless production defeats the object 10 points – Judges discretionary points, for something special – the ‘wow’ factor 100 points Maximum

The Judging

  • At the closing date for entries, they will be collected into categories by the organiser and sent to three judges who will each assess the entries against the above strict points system.
  • The entries and their scores are then returned to the organiser, who will total the points from all judges. The entries which accumulate the most points will be declared the winners. If an entry warrants special attention, due to damage in the post etc. it will be the subject of consultation and agreement between the judges.
  • The Judges may feel that the winner and runner-up are too close to choose between, in such a case they have the option of combining the prize money and sharing it between the tied winners i.e. two winners and no runner-up.
  • The Judges may also wish to mention a highly commended entrant which was not included amongst the winners, because of their extraordinary high standard. A highly commended group will receive a signed Certificate.
  • The judges also have the discretion not to award a prize in a particular category – for example, if there were insufficient entries for the category it to be competitive, or if the entries received failed to achieve a reasonable standard.
  • In these matters the judges’ and organiser’s joint decision is final.
  • To protect Judges from lobbying or complaints their identity will not be disclosed.