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Could you win a C+D Award? Top tips to make your entry sparkle

Thinking about making a submission to this year's C+D Awards or want help refining your entry? Here are some top tips to help put your submission at the top of the pile

It's that time of year once again, when pharmacy professionals around the country will be gearing up to enter the C+D Awards.

With this year's event taking place at the Brewery in London on September 6, the C+D Awards 2023 will shine a light on excellence in community pharmacy across 13 categories – whether that's through innovative new services or patient care that goes the extra mile. Entries are now open, and C+D wants to hear from you.

Read more: They’re back! C+D Awards officially return for 2023 with two new categories

But if the thought of getting together an application is filling you with dread, C+D is here to help. Read on and listen to the podcast below to find out why you should enter the awards and how to maximise your chances of winning.


Why enter the C+D Awards?


Everyone has their reasons for enjoying the C+D Awards and the members of the event’s judging panel are no different. Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), says the event is one of her favourites in the industry, being one of the few for which she is taking time out of her busy schedule to join the judging panel of this year. 

Why so? Because she firmly believes the awards are “unbiased” and genuinely recognise talent in the community pharmacy sector. Those who bag themselves a C+D Award not only get well-deserved recognition but also become role models for others, inspiring their peers to reach new heights.

For Sukhy Somal, whose Walsall-based business PharmaCare Pharmacy snapped up the prize for Independent Pharmacy of the Year in 2022, just being at the event is an amazing experience that gives attendees the chance to meet like-minded professionals. It also provides a space to make contact with people from all over the country and connect to create future opportunities.

Read more: The independent pharmacy with its eyes on the prize

There is no winner-take-all mentality either, Ms Somal says. Everyone on the shortlist, whether they walk away with an award or not, receives fantastic branding that lets others know they made the shortlist. This can be displayed wherever you think there is an opportunity to advertise your pharmacy.

There are significant benefits to scoring a prestigious C+D Award. For example, in Ms Somal's experience, there has been an increase in turnover as a result of winning due to the increased credibility that it brings. And as she knows from personal experience, you are also likely to see a dramatic increase in staff applications.

It is said that you have to be in it to win it, and Ms Somal is very much of that mindset. With three C+D Awards to her name, she firmly believes that more pharmacy professionals should throw their hat in the ring and make a submission. And even if you don't win on the first go, you can learn valuable lessons from the experience, she says.


Maximising your chance of success


Entrants should leave themselves plenty of time to prepare their application; submitting an entry should not be left to the last minute, Ms Somal warns. Entrants should carefully plan which categories they want to apply for and study previous applications and winning entries to understand why they were shortlisted, she adds. As much evidence as possible should also be provided in order to make your application stronger.

However, there are some things that entrants should avoid. You should steer clear of spreading yourself too thinly and applying for several categories, thinking you'll score at least one award “if [you] try a bit of everything”, Ms Somal advises.

Read more: Why we gave two of our pharmacies a 'facelift'

Applicants should make sure they highlight what it is that sets their achievements apart from those of their peers, Dr Hannbeck says. You should also point out why you think they deserve to win. Entries should be kept short and to the point and may include pictures or quotes from patients – although you must be mindful of patient confidentiality. 

In addition to her other advice, Ms Somal says applicants should try to make their answers as relevant to each category as possible, ticking off all the questions asked in the application process. You should also focus on your pharmacy's strengths and apply those to the category you choose to enter. 

Read more: The award-winning pharmacy team that raised thousands of pounds for Ukraine

When you think you are ready to submit their entry, you should seize the chance to have a third party look over your application before you submit it, she advises.

If you are unsure as to whether your entry is suitable for a certain category, you can email C+D’s senior events manager at [email protected] or visit the C+D Awards page.

Still got questions? C+D’s deputy editor, Daniel Emmett-Gulliver, and clinical and custom content editor, Nana Ofori-Atta, sat down to discuss everything you need to know about this year's event. You can listen to the podcast below.

Please note that this podcast was recorded remotely, which may at times affect sound quality.

Listen to the podcast to find out:

  • how this year’s Awards event will be different to last year’s
  • the key things you need to know about this year’s Awards
  • how to make your entry stand out to our independent judging panel.



Follow C+D’s podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud


The C+D Awards 2023 will take place at The Brewery in London on September 6. Could you or one of your colleagues be crowned as a C+D Award winner? Check out all the categories for the 2023 awards and enter today.

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