Robert Burns Humanitarian Award

Burns Humanitarian Awards

Nominations for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2021 are now closed, the Judging Panel have met and the final 3 nominees have been selected.

The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is a globally-respected honour bestowed annually on a group or individual who shows selflessness and dedication in a bid to save, enrich or improve the lives of others through the protection and promotion of human rights and work to deliver social reform.

Named in honour of Scotland’s son, Robert Burns, this much sought after humanitarian award applauds the efforts of people who bring hope and inspiration, often in desperate situations, and help change lives for the better.

Part of the annual Burns an' a' that! Festival celebrations, the RBHA is supported by South Ayrshire Council.

The current winner(2020) is Josh Littlejohn MBE – the co-founder of Social Bite which was set up in 2012. Social Bite is a chain of sandwich/coffee shops that offer 100% of their profits to good causes. Each year, the Social Bite shops give more than 140,000 free items of healthy food to vulnerable people. Josh also established the Social Bite Fund which has helped provide accommodation to people affected by homelessness. In 2016 he received an MBE for services to social enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland. You can read more about Josh’s story here.

As Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns is celebrated as a pioneer of his generation, with his dynamic vision inspiring the founders of socialism and liberalism. The humanitarian values he embraced in his short life are captured for eternity in his rousing world famous works which are now his legacy. Burns’ work continues to inspire people from all walks of life and in all corners of the globe.

The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is supported by South Ayrshire Council. The winner receives a specially commissioned award handcrafted in Scotland and the equivalent of 1759 guineas – a sum which signifies the year of the Bard’s birth and the coinage in circulation at the time – equating to £1,800 in today’s currency.

Burns is one of Scotland’s favourite icons, encapsulating the very essence that makes Scots Scottish. More information about how to celebrate Burns’ Day and the life of the Bard himself can be found at