National Happiness Awards 2019

It's always award season at the National Happiness Awards because happiness never stops.
Awards 19 preparations underway
Behind the scenes we’re already busy preparing for this year’s event to make sure it’s the biggest, best and sparkliest one to date (we made that word up). We can already reveal that the 2019 National Happiness Awards will be held in London in November.

Don't miss out
We’ll be releasing more details from next month and throughout the year so if you are a school, organisation or individual and would like to know more, you can keep up to date with our news by subscribing to our mailing list below. We’ll also be updating the website with information and news as its released.

Find out more about the awards
In the meantime, if you are new to The National Happiness Awards, or you know about us and want to relive the glory of last year’s event, go to the National Happiness Awards 2018 winner's page, or scroll down this page to find out more about last year's awards.

In the meantime, continue putting in place the initiatives and actions in your organisation or school that spread happiness. You could be a happiness hero this year too.


87% of people who shared their email with us reported a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness - even after they were abducted by aliens.


Thank you to all the businesses, organisations and schools, who have submitted a nomination. The awards shortlist will be published on Monday, 5th November 2018.

  • Nominations deadline:
    Nominations are closed
  • Awards ceremony:

    Friday, 16th November, 2018

  • Venue:

    The Landing
    M50 2ST

Now in their third year, the Happiness Awards is the UK’s boldest and brightest honours scheme, where happiness pioneers in the workplace and in education are rewarded for making the world a better place.

There are six categories in this year's National Happiness Awards

Happiness in the workplace

  • Happiest Workplace
    Prize: £3000 of Laughology training
  • Happiest Workplace Person
    Prize: £300 voucher of choice
  • Happiest Team
    Prize: £300 voucher of choice to share (under 10 people), £500 voucher of choice to share (over 10 people)
Nominations are welcomed from businesses, charities and public sector organisations, Nominations can be submitted by owners, team members, clients and members of the public.

Happiness in education

  • Happiest School
    Prize: £1000 of vouchers of your choice and £1000 of Laughology training
  • Happiest School Person
    Prize: £300 voucher of choice
  • Happiest Pupil
    Prize: £100 voucher of their choice
Nominations are welcomed from all levels of education. Nominations can be submitted by teachers, support staff, pupils, parents and member of the public.

“We were over the moon. There were some amazing businesses in the awards, so it was brilliant to win.”
The Outward Bound Trust - Francesca Scott
“I am privileged to have won the award.”
2016 Happiest Employee - Rob Smith
“We work really hard to look after our people and make the office a great place to work. It is great to win.”
2017 Winner - Burges Salmon

Nomination deadline

Nominations close at midnight on Wednesday, 24th October, 2018


Happiness. What is it?

Real happiness – or realistic happiness (because you can’t be happy all the time) - is a complex mix of mindsets and emotional states which combine to create positivity, resilience and robust mental health. So many elements affect happiness, including exercise, diet and security. Our research tells us that realistic happiness is made of five main drivers. These are confidence, coping skills, positive relationships, support and personal development. Within each of these there are other factors, such as a sense of purpose. When people and organisations understand this and break down each element they can start to devise interventions and initiatives that will positively impact on people’s happiness.

Happiness is:

  • Confidence
  • Personal development and autonomy
  • Positive relationships
  • Mutual support
  • Resilience and the ability to cope
  • “Happiness the greatest gift that I possess.” Ken Dodd

It isn’t:

  • A cigar called Hamlet

Happiest places in the UK

The National Happiness Awards recognise and honour the happiest people and places in the UK. They are judged by an independent panel of experts and culminate in a gala awards evening of fun and glamour. The awards recognise happiness heroes from business, the public sector and education. 2018 marks the third year the awards have been running and each year they have grown in size and profile. They are the only awards of their kind in Britain and attract significant media attention.

Pssst! Here’s what the judges will be looking for…

Laughology is all about the science of happiness. Our high-brow boffins have studied it and worked out the equation for creating happy people and organisations.

Confidence + personal development + mutual support + positive relationships + coping skills = happiness.

Any organisation, leader or person that takes measures to promote these five elements will be creating happiness. And the judges will be looking for evidence of each of these themes in your submission.

Check out the links here to discover what the judges look for in team and individual categories and also have a look at the judging criteria for ideas about how organisations – both workplaces and schools - can create happiness. We hope this information helps but most of all, the judges want to hear your unique stories and the innovative ways you are putting happiness at the heart of what you do. So don’t get too hung up on the detail. And don’t forget, our judges love material such as photos, videos, testimonials, feedback and press cuttings.


The Laughology team are honoured to partner with an esteemed panel of successful leaders who will help judge the National Happiness Awards.
Aaron Alburey

Aaron is a passionate believer in bringing together the power of people and innovative technology to make a positive difference to people’s lives at work, particularly in our increasingly digital age. He is an HR transformation specialist, global programme director, entrepreneur and Founder of LACE Partners (2017 finalists in the Happiest Team Award).
He is known for delivering complex and challenging projects with global clients, such as Cushman & Wakefield, Credit Suisse, LafargeHolcim, Marks & Spencer, UBS, Zurich Insurance, HSBC, Coke Enterprises and BT.

What Aaron is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 -
With increasing change, whether it’s digital or post-Brexit, we must focus on what makes a real difference in our organisations – the happiness of people. Aaron is looking for great stories about how organisations and individuals are making a positive difference to people’s lives at work.

David Bowman

David is Managing Director and co-founder of Crown House Publishing. He worked for British Gas in management services before starting in education publishing. His company’s books focus on positive education and independent thinking and learning.

What David is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 -
A person or school who is relentlessly positive in everything they do and who inspires others to be the same. Someone who looks for the best in others and encourages them to shine.

Gill White

Gill joined CIPD in July 2012 as Head of CIPD Training and was appointed a director for the newly formed directorate of careers & CPD in September 2013. Since then she has taken responsibility for the content, commercial, regional and international teams. She is currently the business and markets development director. Her remit covers commercial enterprises, business development and the international and regional areas.

Gill delivers speeches and workshops around the world which focus on the future of learning and development, leadership, strategic alignment and behavioural science.

Prior to working for the CIPD, Gill has held a variety of L&D leadership roles at Vodafone, Xchanging and SSP. She also held operational roles at consultancy IDology, Whitbread, Greenall’s and Vodafone.

Gill holds the prestigious IOD chartered director status, one of only 1,000 in the UK. She is also a fellow of both the IOD and CIPD. Gill’s main passion beyond learning and behavioural science remains her love of wine, something she studied to degree level when working in the trade. She is never happier than when reading a book on the brain, accompanied by a nice pinot noir.

What Gill is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 -
What I look for is the additional evidence – like videos or photos that help bring the entry to life. Anything that really helps demonstrate the impact that the intervention has had makes it more compelling.

Ian Gilbert

Ian is an award-winning author and editor. He established Independent Thinking in 1994. His best-selling books include Essential Motivation in the Classroom, Why do I Need a Teacher when I’ve got Google and Independent Thinking. His latest book is an Amazon number one collaborative epic entitled, controversially, The Working Class.

What Ian is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 -
At a time when schools, heads and teachers are overworked, underfunded and vastly underappreciated, how are the schools working to make sure that childhood remains magical for all the children in their community?

Justin Robbins

Justin has been delivering communication professionally since 2001. Having initially worked in financial services and education, he is now fully focused on making a difference in education through communication.

Justin and Karen Dempster co-founded Fit2Communicate in 2014 and are working with over 30 schools nationally, to help them communicate so students can be happy and at their best. Justin previously worked with Zurich Insurance, Pearson Learning and Allianz. In recognition of the highest level of excellence and achievement in the profession, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication.

Justin is also a school governor and triathlon coach and is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams.

What Justin is looking for in entries to the National Happiness Awards 2018 –
Justin wants to learn more about what schools are doing to build happiness, particularly through great communication.

Karen Dempster

Karen has been a communications expert since 1996, working originally in marketing and public relations and then in broader communication and change. She takes a fresh approach to communication, understanding motivations and concerns and developing effective approaches that build curiosity, create energy and connect. She is passionate about breaking down communication barriers to education, so children can be happy and at their best.

Karen and Justin Robbins co-founded Fit2Communicate in 2014 and are working with over 30 schools nationally, to help them communicate so that students can be happy and at their best. She previously worked with The Natural History Museum, Zurich Insurance, Pearson Learning, Yoox Net-a-Porter and Cushman & Wakefield. In recognition of the highest level of excellence and achievement in the profession, Karen is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication. She is also a professional photographer.

What Karen is looking for in entries to the National Happiness Awards 2018 –
Karen is excited about hearing the interesting stories from schools and individuals about what makes them happy in what they do, and of course how communication makes a difference to their happiness.

Kerry James

Kerry worked in youth social work before her legal career. She practised as a disputes lawyer at Burges Salmon before moving to legal education and leading the Legal Practice Course at the University of the West of England. She developed the University of Law’s presence in the South West as Director of its Bristol branch before returning to Burges Salmon where she leads the L&D team.

What Kerry is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 -
I’m looking for entries demonstrating that people have thought individually and collectively about what well-being means. I am looking for entries that show a real commitment to improving the physical and mental health of themselves and others around them and understand the relationship between the two. Do people show an interest in others and support each other when the pressure is on? I’m looking for the business equivalent of ‘the family that plays together stays together’.

Nerina Ramlakhan

Physiologist Nerina Ramlakhan PhD has over 20 years experience in maximising individual and organisational performance. She founded BUPA’s Corporate Wellbeing Solutions and has worked extensively in the public and private sector.

After completing her post-doctoral training and research into the effects of lifestyle interventions on mental disorders, she spent five years in corporate health screening before studying organisational psychiatry and psychology at Guys Hospital. For over a decade she worked with the Nightingale Psychiatric Hospital in London on their sleep, energy & physical health programmes.

Nerina’s work with individuals and organisations includes motivational and leadership programmes, wellness and wnergy programmes, return to work coaching following long-term sickness absence and burnout prevention. She also runs regular sleep/energy workshops for women recovering from cancer at the Haven Centre in Fulham.

Nerina’s work is featured regularly in the national press and she has appeared on BBC radio, GMTV, ITV’s This Morning, CNN and SKY NEWS.

Nerina is the sleep advisor to the Silent Night bed company and Melia Hotels and Resorts.

What Nerina is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 -
I'll be looking for initiatives that bring happiness into organisations and examples of the impact these have. How do they engage their people and are the initiatives measurable? For the individual awards I'll be looking at the actions the nominees do and how these impact on the people around them.  Is their happiness infectious? 
Rob Woodhead

Rob is managing director of Simply Better Events, a full-service events agency. Their purpose is to inspire people to think, feel and do things differently and they do this by creating remarkable event experiences.

Simply Better recognise the important role that live events have in creating positive employee engagement, which in turn leads to a happier, more productive workplace. They are therefore delighted to be sponsoring the National Happiness Awards for a second year running.

What Rob is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 - “Afters” are key for me. It’s not just about programmes or processes that have been put in place, but more about the tangible impact that these initiatives have had…so measurement is key!

Sue Blyth

Sue Blyth is the head teacher of Fourfields Community Primary School in Peterborough; Britain’s Happiest School in 2017.

Prior to going into teaching, Sue was a professional singer and toured the world performing in theatres and concert halls. However, the desire to make education more inspiring and fun for children was too strong, and before long she found herself in the classroom putting her stage experience to better use.

Sue has been a head teacher now for five years and leads her school by the SHINE values: successful, happy, inspirational learning experiences in a nurturing environment that makes children excited to come to school each day. Growing veg for the school kitchen, re-enacting the Battle of Hastings, lighting camp fires, singing loudly and reading on their very own double decker bus, is all part of the fun!

What Sue is looking for in entries to the Happiness Awards 2018 -
A school which is flourishing because it constantly seeks out innovative ways to ensure happiness and security for children, parents and staff.

Judging criteria

Happiest workplace

The criteria for the National Happiest Workplace is a bit of a whopper, so we thought you may prefer it in a downloadable Word format - but it is well worth a read!

Happiest workplace person

Judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • Creativity and innovation in the way the nominee supports and encourages others and examples of how they go the extra mile to ensure colleagues are happy
  • A clear narrative that demonstrates how the nominee inspires, engages and contributes to the overall happiness in the organisation
  • How the nominee has a positive impact on the organisation and the community beyond
  • The positive impact the individual has on the organisation from staff feedback and testimonials from peers
Happiest team
Judges will be looking for evidence of:
  • A team which demonstrates an original and innovative approach to people development, promoting wellbeing and communicating positive messages about mental health and happiness
  • A clear narrative that demonstrates how the team excels in collaborative working and leadership
  • A rounded approach showing how the team positively impacts on other functions and the wider business
  • Key metrics, staff feedback and anecdotes that demonstrate how the team has strengthened the organisation
Happiest school

The criteria for the National Happiest School award is a bit of a whopper, so we thought you may prefer it in a downloadable Word format - it's well worth a read!

Happiest school person

Judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • Original and innovative ideas for contributing to the overall happiness of the school
  • A clear narrative that demonstrates how the person inspires, engages and contributes to the overall happiness, wellbeing and positive mental health in the school
  • How the person adds value to the school in terms of promoting happiness and children’s development beyond the curriculum inside and outside of the classroom
Happiest pupil

Judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • A creative and curious approach for getting the most out of school life
  • A clear narrative that demonstrates what the student has achieved and in what context
  • The positive impact the pupil has on the school to promote happiness

Last year's winners and runners-up

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Beckfoot Heath Primary School

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - Beckfoot Heath Primary School

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Burges-Salmon-Bristol

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - Burges Salmon, Bristol

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Callum Carr, St Matthews primary School, Luton

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - Callum Carr, St Matthews Primary School, Luton

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Debs Gallagher, Virgin Active

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Fourfields Community Primary School, Peterborough

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - Fourfields Community Primary School, Peterborough

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Gemma Spiers Paget Primary School

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - Gemma Spiers Paget Primary School

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Inspired to Change Associates, Peterborough

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - Inspired to Change Associates, Peterborough

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Kaizen Primary School, Newham

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - LACE Partners Ltd, London

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - Natalie-Reed, Regents-Park Community College, Southampton

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - The Outward Bound Trust, Aberdovey Catering Team

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - The Outward Bound Trust, Aberdovey Catering Team

  • National Happiness Awards 2017 - /William Ridley, Sky Betting & Gaming

    National Happiness Awards 2017 - /William Ridley, Sky Betting & Gaming


Education Gold sponsor


Fit 2 Communicate logo
More about Fit2Communicate

We work with schools across the UK, helping them develop a range of vital  effective positive communication skills.

We help schools develop better partnerships with parents, leading to stronger parental engagement. We also help them to create a teacher experience that builds retention. We strengthen leadership teams and create authentic marketing strategies that reflect a school’s vision and values. The result is a better experience for teachers, parents and pupils. We also help school teams through changes while building engagement, trust and resilience.

It's great to be sponsors of such a prestigious event as the National Happiness Awards, and as judges, we are looking forward to being involved in the judging process.

Gold venue sponsor

The Landing

More about The Landing

The Landing gives digital SMEs and micro-businesses a place to work alongside large media and technology organisations, allowing them to be part of and benefit from the exciting and rapidly growing community at MediaCityUK. Spanning seven floors, we combine all cross-sections of the digital creative industry to create a unique environment where SMEs can thrive. From digital workflow, post production and interactive media labs to meeting, working and social spaces, we offer everything under one roof.

Workplace Gold sponsor

Lace Partners Ltd

More about Lace Partners
We are fundamentally different to traditional consultancies.

We share a passion and belief that people hold the key to unlocking company value.

We are a global consultancy equipped with a pioneering mix of HR change specialists and progressive technologies.

We provide a bespoke service to help you solve your business and technology challenges.

Our operating model drives innovation, quality and value at a competitive price.

Lace Partners

Silver business sponsor

More about Simply Better Events

Simply Better Events are a full service events agency you can trust to deliver every time.

We’re proud to work with some of the UK's best-loved brands, helping them to create remarkable experiences that inspire their staff, customers or stakeholders to think, feel and do things differently.

Silver education sponsor

More about Crown house

Crown House Publishing is an award-winning publisher of professional development resources for teachers and school leaders.

We are dedicated to publishing top quality books that help schools to nurture skilled, intuitive, self-directed learners who can think independently and work collaboratively and who are emotionally resilient enough to cope with challenges and realise their full learning potential.

We are delighted to be sponsoring the Laughology Happiness Awards as laughter and enjoyment are vital both to improving wellbeing in schools and to the learning process in general.

Bronze business sponsor

More about Hannam's

Traditional Sweets, customised gift boxes and tins. Satisfy your sweet tooth. Get your sweets online at

Read more


Awards Charity Partners 2018

Salford homeless charities

Andy Burnham - Mayor of Greater Manchester

Salford homeless charities Salford loaves and fishes and Narrowgate are vital in providing care, shelter and food to vulnerable people and rough sleepers.

Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford said: 'I am delighted that the National Happiness Awards 2018 have chosen Salford Homeless charities as their partner charity this year.  Salford Homeless charities; Salford Loaves & Fishes and Narrowgate undertake valued work in providing support to homeless, rough sleepers and vulnerable people in Salford.'

Find out more about Salford loaves and fishes...
Find out more about Narrowgate...

BBC Children in Need

Andy Burnham - Mayor of Greater Manchester
Children in Need provide grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. We are local to people in all corners of the UK and support small and large organisations which empower children and extend their life choices.

Find out more about Children in Need...


The Laughology National Happiness Awards 2017 were presented at a special ceremony on Friday, 18th November, 2016, at CIPD, London.

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