We are so proud to announce that our CEO, Emily Wragg, has been shortlisted for the Yorkshire Leadership Awards!

Emily Wragg, CEO of Candlelighters, was shortlisted for the Public and Third Sector Leader at the Business Desk Yorkshire Leadership Awards!

Emily has played a crucial role in Candlelighters’ expansion and success over the years. One of her early milestones was the opening of our Family Support Centre, The Square, providing our families with a space close to the hospital to receive support including talking therapy, massages and other well-being services. Emily spearheaded the establishment of The Candlelighters Cottage, a home-from-home environment for families traveling to receive treatment for their child. She also expanded our services to be accessible across the county by introducing a community model to widen support from the hospital to across Yorkshire.

Last year, Emily led the creation of a £1 million Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre in collaboration with the University of York, which will focus on research tackling the potentially life-threatening side effects of cancer treatment for children. This will see internationally crucial research being led from Yorkshire to help save lives, reduce suffering, and bring hope for children diagnosed with cancer.  

Emily’s leadership style is characterised by trust, flexibility, and empowerment. She believes in removing barriers to success, fostering a non-hierarchical structure that encourages collaboration and innovation. Every member of Candlelighters is encouraged to contribute their ideas, without fear of failure, making Candlelighters a safe and creative space for testing and learning. Emily’s leadership was put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her decisive actions, transparent communication, and unwavering support for both staff and the families we serve ensured that Candlelighters not only weathered the storm but emerged stronger. 

Candlelighters has been awarded the external accreditation of being a ‘Great Place to Work’ with the global authority on workplace culture, the Great Place to Work organisation. When surveyed, 97% of the staff team said that Candlelighters was a great place to work, versus a company average of 54% across all other organisations in the UK, a testament to the strong culture Emily has built. 

Emily says, “I’m so grateful to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award. I feel incredibly humbled to lead such an important charity and to be a part of both what we have achieved, and what we will achieve in the future. Families are affected by childhood cancer not only throughout treatment, but beyond – whether their child has long-term side effects, or the family are sadly bereaved. Being able to provide vital support for these families during an extremely traumatic journey is at the core of everything we do.” 

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