A ST IVES charity hopes to win a national award after beating hundreds of entries to secure a place in the final.

Crossroads Care Cambridgeshire has been chosen as one of three finalists for The Charity Awards healthcare and medical research category for developing a carers' prescription service in partnership with NHS Cambridgeshire and GPs.

The service allows carers to ask their GP to refer them to Crossroads, who offer advice or help arrange breaks for carers who need time out or holiday cover.

Dr Helen Brown, who led the project, said: "We're delighted to have been shortlisted for The Charity Awards and to have been able to play a key part in developing innovative services for carers in Cambridgeshire, in partnership with health and social care colleagues.

"The award also assesses charities on the eight hallmarks of excellence: leadership, planning, innovation, enterprise, learning, effectiveness, accountability and sustainability, so it is a real accolade to be in the top three in our category."

The final takes place in London on June 14. If Crossroads wins the healthcare and medical research award, the company will be in the running to win the Overall Award for Excellence, which is selected from the 10 category winners.

Daniel Phelan, organiser of The Charity Awards, said: "For 13 years The Charity Awards programme has celebrated the exceptional work that takes place within the voluntary sector and the dramatic effects that charities have on a wide spectrum of social needs.

"The rigorous judging process means that only the very best walk away with prizes, bestowing on them one of the highest accolades in the sector. In being shortlisted, Crossroads has already demonstrated that it is among the best-managed charities in the UK. I wish them all the best of luck."

John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, which sponsors The Charity Awards, said: "I would like to congratulate and commend all the shortlisted charities this year, as well as everyone who took the time to submit an application.

"Once again the calibre of entries was very impressive - at a time when the sector, indeed the country, is under such financial pressure, The Charity Awards gives us all the opportunity to step back, reflect and be inspired."