About the Sandford Awards

The Sandford St Martin Awards are the UK’s most prestigious broadcast awards for radio, TV and online programmes that reflect religious, spiritual or ethical themes. They are the only awards that welcome entries about any and all faiths.

The Awards are held at Lambeth Palace, where prize money totaling approximately £4,000 is awarded to the winners.

Entries are now open for the 2018 Awards.  The Trust welcomes submissions from news, current affairs, factual, the arts, music, drama and comedy – as well as from teams producing specifically ‘religious’ commissions.   Find out more about our eligibility criteria and enter here.

If you need inspiration, then you can review our 2017 Award winners.   They were announced on 7 June 2017 at Lambeth Palace during a special ceremony.  Or you can listen to 2016’s keynote address which was given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Sandford St Martin Awards

2017 Award Winners and shortlisted programmes

The winners of the 2017 Awards ceremony were announced at Lambeth Palace on 7 June, coinciding with the eve of the general election – which, if unplanned (the Trust sets the date for its annual awards ceremony almost a year in advance), was fitting given that so many of this year’s shortlisted programmes explored the link between the politics and faith or belief.  Among the truly excellent programmes that made the 2017 shortlists were programmes that dealt with deeply divisive issue of assisted dying, the rich variety of what it means to be a Muslim in Britain today, gay marriage, the refugee crisis, the links between belief and political extremism and the legacy of Martin Luther King and the Selma to Montgomery march, among other themes.

And then there were the winners.

Proof that the political is personal (or vice versa) could be found in ‘A World Without Down’s Syndrome?‘, which won both the Television and the Radio Times Readers’ Award.  In the programme, the comedian and actor Sally Phillips examines the implications for society of a new 99% accurate pre-natal test for Down’s Syndrome.  The Chair of the TV judging jury Daniel Pearl, Deputy Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, said “This deeply personal programme was fresh approach to a subject we all thought we understood and both moved the judges and left us all feeling very different about the subject”.  Tom Loxley, Executive Editor at the Radio Times said “Sally’s documentary stood out as a powerful and personal programme that demonstrated that ethical issues are never abstract, as she explored them through her relationship with her son, Olly.”

The Children’s Award winner was the drama “Refugee“, made for TrueTube.co.uk by the independent production company CTVC.  Chair of the Children’s jury, the writer David Almond said “Along with an ambitious, action-packed script and clever use of flashbacks, it really does show how it would be if it happened to us and not to a stranger… It brings the world into our own home”.

An Extremist in the Family‘ made by Dominic Casciani, BBC News’ Home Affairs Correspondent was a story of radicalisation “told in an empathetic and engaging way while still remaining impartial and detached” and won the Interview Award.

BBC Radio Wales won the Radio Awards with their very moving edition of ‘All Things Considered – Aberfan 50 Year Anniversary‘ which examined how a tragic mining disaster affected the lives and faith of people living locally and won the Radio Award.

» View all our winners this year

Award archive

After more than three decades in the business, the Sandford St Martin Trust holds a unique record of recognising and celebrating the best broadcasting about religion, ethics and morality from across the UK.   Our winners include some of the best programmes broadcast in the UK and come from all different genres – as well as “traditional” religious programming.  You can read more about them in our Awards Archive.

» Past awards