The BAFM Friends Group of the Year Award 2024

In partnership with The Marsh Charitable Trust

Guidance Notes for applicants

1. Why apply for the BAFM Friends of the Year Award?

BAFM represents people who love museums, galleries, and our heritage. Friends Groups who are members of BAFM support museums through fundraising, voluntary work, helping advocate for museums and helping them engage with their communities. We want to recognise and reward the exceptional work that Friends Groups are doing through our latest BAFM Friends of the Year Award 2024. BAFM is proud to announce their partnership with The Marsh Charitable Trust who will help select the winners of the competition. Throughout these guidelines, for the sake of brevity, the word ‘museum’ or ‘museums’ should be recognised as referring to museums, galleries, and heritage sites, as well as organisations such as The Chippendale Society and The Gissing Trust.

  • Award winners will receive a £500 donation, kindly provided by The Marsh Charitable Trust
  • The BAFM Friends of the Year Award formally recognises the hard work and dedication of groups and each shortlisted organisation will receive a Certificate of Merit.
  • The Award provides evidence you have a track record of success.
  • If possible, award winners are expected to attend our National Conference to showcase their work and promote their group as well as collect their award certificate and cheque.
  • A follow up article in the BAFM Journal will be published, promoting your group, showcasing your work, and sharing your ideas and best practice.


2. Who can apply for the BAFM Friends of the Year Award

The BAFM Friends of the Year Award, in association with The Marsh Charitable Trust is for exceptional groups of Friends who are making a positive impact on their museum and benefitting others through their work. We are looking for groups who have taken the initiative to create, organise and deliver activities that support museums and heritage.

There are several criteria applicant groups must fulfil:

  • Applicants must be members of BAFM.
  • Friends’ Groups can apply themselves or be nominated by the museum or heritage site they support.
  • Applicants can be Friends Groups of any size as it is the impact of the work that we will consider, not simply the scale or number of pounds raised. Whether you are a newly formed group consisting of just a few dedicated individuals, or a well-established group with 500 members, if you have done some exceptional work either in the last 12 months or over a longer period, we want to hear from you.

Examples of work recognised by the Award may include:

  • Fundraising that helped the museum achieve a goal
  • Helping to engage a new audience at the museum
  • Filling gaps in museum provision or service
  • Preserving local heritage or the environment
  • Raising awareness about issues affecting museums or local heritage

Working in partnership with other Friends groups, charities, or other organisations to achieve something that had positive impact on museums and heritage.
It is expected that applications that are based on fundraising projects go beyond simply asking for donations, but are creative, engaging and benefit the museum more widely.
We welcome applications from groups that are well run, and that have clear aims and objectives in how to support their museum or heritage site as well as those who are not affiliated with specific locations.


3. How can we apply for the BAFM Friends of the Year Award?

The Award application form is available to download from our website:

Application Form (PDF)

Application Form (.docx)

Applications are accepted from 1st March 2024 to 1st July 2024.

You will need to send your application form, a letter of support from the museum your groups supports and one supporting document that is relevant to the application. This document could be a photograph or video of the activity or a press article, newsletter article, blog posts, or a short testimonial from beneficiaries of the activity or anything which you feel best demonstrates the value of your work. If your work is of a more general nature, the judges will accept a letter of support from an individual who knows of your work BUT who is not a member of your group.

NB Any applications submitted without a letter of support from a museum or other heritage site cannot be considered.

The Award short list will be announced in the September edition of the BAFM Journal, and the winner and runners up will be notified privately before the public announcement at the 51st BAFM Conference and AGM hosted this year by The Friends of Wisbech and Fenland Museum

Although applications will generally be submitted by digital means, if your group would prefer to submit by hard copy, please contact

Any personal data submitted to us will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).


4. Completing the application form

Be concise and to the point, but make sure you give us some facts and figures and tell us why this activity is important. Here are some points you may address in your application:

  • What exactly do your group do and why was it necessary? We want to see an indication of good communication with the museum or heritage site you support.
  • What was impact of the activity on the museum or heritage site? How many people benefitted from it, and how?
  • How did your involvement ensure the activity took place? Tell us about how your group took the initiative and overcame any problems.
  • Did the activity help reach any new audiences for the museum or establish new relationships?
  • What are the long-term benefits of the activity to the museum or Friends group?


5. What to include in the letter of support

Together with your application form, groups must submit a letter of support written by the
museum or heritage site they support or in specific cases by an individual who knows the work of the group intimately. The letter should include.

  • The name and role of person writing the letter.
  • Brief details of the museum or heritage organisation itself, what the museum is and what it does.
  • How the activity of the Friends group has been beneficial to the museum, who it has helped and how.
  • How this activity has helped the museum achieve its goals and any long-term effects.

NB This letter should be clear and concise; BAFM aren’t looking for an essay, just a clear indication that the Group is working in conjunction with the museum of heritage site they support.


6. What if the application is unsuccessful?

All groups considering submitting an entry are encouraged to engage with their Regional Co-Ordinator in the first instance or contacting Dave Adgar via e-mail who can arrange either a phone call or a Zoom meeting to discuss any issues which groups may feel they need clarification. The final decision on the winner and those who are either runners up or highly commended will be made by an impartial panel. Groups are welcome to reapply at any time in successive years.


7. Receiving an Award

The Award winners will be notified and will be invited to attend the National Conference for the presentation of the Award. Winners will be given all necessary details well in advance and it is expected that the winning group send at least one member to attend the presentation.


8. Where to get help

If you need any further advice on how to apply, or are not sure if your group’s activities are suitable for an Award, please get in touch with your Regional Coordinator or Dave Adgar Vice Chair of BAFM on

2024 Newsletter Award

We look forward to receiving your entries for this new Newsletter Award.
You may submit more than one newsletter publication but two copies of the same newsletter will need to be submitted in paper copy form for our Judges, even though they may only have been circulated electronically.
Your Newsletter submissions, to be accepted, need to have been produced any time from May 2023 and submitted before 1st July 2024.

Our Judges would like to find, as content, the following:

  • Variety of activity;
  • Clarity of Information and production;
  • BAfM news

The Winning Prize
The winning Friends Group!s Newsletter will receive two free places for our National Conference in 2024 and a Winner’s Certificate.
The Runners Up
Those newsletters which are consider very good will receive a Certificate of Merit.
Please ensure that your contributors will allow their articles to be read by other BAfM Members, apart from your own Friend’s group.

Download the Newsletter Award Application Form
Please complete this form and post it with two copies of your Newsletter submission/s to:

David Adgar, our acting Journal Editor, 6 Winnery Close, Tickhill, Doncaster, DN11 9JT, to forward to our Judges, before 1st July 2024.

2023 Friends of the Year Award

BAFM is proud to announce the launch of the 2023 Friends of the Year Award. This award follows on from last year’s BAFM Impact Award, with slight differences. The criteria have been altered so that longer term projects can be included in the application, rather than focussing exclusively on the previous twelve months. However, the aim of the award remains similar; to recognise excellence amongst our member groups as they continue to support the development of the arts and heritage throughout the UK. This year, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of BAFM but our aims remain the same; to support groups throughout the country as they celebrate the rich heritage of Britain. I would encourage all members to consider making an application, the closing date for which is 1 July 2023

Next step,
Carefully read the comprehensive guidance notes which are available on the BAFM website alongside this announcement.

Consider Contacting your Regional Coordinator or the Vice Chair for advice

Gather the application together as described in the guidelines

Send your completed application form, letter of support and supporting evidence to:

BAFM Awards Team
Initially to for shortlisting

Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 31st July

Winners will be notified 31st August

Download documents here:
Friends of the Year Award 2023 – Guidance Notes (pdf)
Friends of the Year Award 2023 – Application form (docx)
Friends of the Year Award 2023 – Application form (pdf)

2023 Young Museum Professional Award

BAFM aims to help young museum professionals realize their curatorial ambitions and further the aims of their institution by offering an annual award for new collections-based research and curatorial development opportunities. BAFM is committed to delivering public benefit in museums, and aims to achieve this through supporting the development, conservation, and dissemination of museum collections to enhance their public presentation and accessibility. We also accept that research can and should be creative and exploratory.

We therefore welcome ambitious applications and will not always expect material outcomes (for example in the form of acquisitions, exhibitions, or publications) to be an immediate consequence of the award. However, while the award aims to help support curatorial development and collections-based research, it is not intended to replace statutory funding for equipment and resources. BAFM hopes the award will demonstrate the importance and benefits of continued investment in curatorial expertise and encourage funding from other sources.

BAFM welcomes applications for the award from professionals under 30 years of age who work in museums whose Friends are BAFM members, to undertake:

-travel and accommodation for research trips and conferences, museum and exhibition visits,
-training courses and programmes of study,
-publications and subscriptions to add to a museum’s research resources or library

The award might also support other kinds of activity, provided you are able to make a strong case for its contribution to the development of curatorial skill and collections-based research projects.
Tim Craven
(For BAFM Council)

Final date date for applications 1st July 2023
For further information contact Tim Craven on


Read more about BAFM’s Historic Awards