Robert Burns Humanitarian Award

Burns Humanitarian Awards

Nominations for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2021 are now open - and we want your suggestions for the individual or group that epitomises the humanitarian values of the Bard.

Nominations must be submitted by 4pm on Monday 28th September 2020.

RBHA 2021 - Nominate Now

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.

The RBHA is a celebration of Burns Night and is part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – a programme of events funded by the Scottish Government and managed by EventScotland.

The current winner 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 and EventScotland. 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