Friday 28th September 2018, saw the very best from the learning disabilities and autism sector in Wales attend an evening of celebration at The Marriott Hotel, Cardiff for The inaugural Welsh Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards.

Hosted by Care Talk Magazine, the awards are now in their fourth year but this is the first year they have expanded to include a bespoke event in Wales.

The Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the successes of individuals, teams and businesses in the sector – people and organisations who really do make a positive impact on people’s lives. They aim to pay tribute to people who specifically support those with learning disabilities and autism and also recognise inspirational individuals with a learning disability and/or autism who make a real difference within their communities.

There are a wide range of award categories available for nomination that represent all areas of support in the sector; from frontline staff such as support workers, nurses and managers, to people and organisations who have made an impact in other areas such as training and innovation.

The awards are well regarded within the sector and are formally supported by Learning Disability Wales, the National Care Forum, Mencap, The National Autistic Society, Social Care Institute for Excellence and The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG).

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive at Care England, said: “Supporting people with learning disabilities and autism is one of the most complex and challenging areas of social care, but it is also incredibly rewarding and I am delighted that The Learning Disability and Autism awards will give an opportunity for the tremendous commitment of staff in this sector to be acknowledged and recognised with these prestigious awards”

Carol Povey, the Director of the Centre for Autism at the National Autistic Society, said: “The National Autistic Society is very proud to be supporting these awards which highlight the difference great practitioners can make to people’s lives. These awards recognise excellence across all aspects of autism and learning disability support and provision, and draw attention to the great work which goes on day in and day out. Its really fabulous to be part of this celebration, and I wish everyone the best of luck. ”

Vic Rayner, Executive Director at the National Care Forum, said: “The National Care Forum are delighted to support the Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2018. These awards provide an excellent opportunity for people who use services, carers and providers to come together and celebrate the ongoing achievements and developments of individuals and organisations – and spread the word about just what a difference great care and support can make. “

Karen Warner, Information Services Manager, Learning Disability Wales, said: “We are pleased to support the awards that recognise the positive impact individuals or organisations have had in helping people with a learning disability and/or autism achieve the life they want to lead.“

The winners of the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards Wales, together with the judge’s comments, are detailed below:

The Care Employer Award
Bridgend College

The judges were impressed by their all-inclusive approach and demonstrated being a real people centred organisation. Bridgend College have a strong culture and provide the necessary services to the highest level.

The Newcomer Award
Cerys Evan, Priory Adult Care

Cerys is a very confident and highly driven individual who continues to want to make her service users happy. She has shown that she has made some important changes that have improved the quality of life.

The Support Worker Award
Georgina Simmons, Care Management Group

Georgina’s care and compassion really shone through on the day, she is a true star. Thanks for all the hard work you do for the sector Georgina.

The Registered Manager Award
Kelly Prosser, The Regard Partnership

Kelly is a manager who guides and leads her team. She instils confidence and a sense of family for those whom she supports.

The Senior Manager Award
Kelly Pirotte, Accomplish Group

Kelly understands that people are the most important asset to her organisation. She shares a real passion and empathy, providing quality services.

The Learning Disability Nurse Award
Denise Bromfield, ABMU HB

Denise has been working in the sector for over 38 years. Her continued dedication and commitment is a shining example to others.

The Making a Difference Award
Ester Kilbride, Rubicon Dance

Esther says every person should be able to express themselves in whatever way
they can – she ensures people get this creative, exciting opportunity – well done Esther – Inspiring

The Trainer Award
Sharyn Fletcher , Priory Health Care

An inspirational trainer who motivates others to provide person centred, outcome focussed support.

The Breaking Down Barriers Award
Gerraint Jones-Griffith, Engage to Change Employment Project

Gerraint approaches every day with passion and commitment, using his own personal experiences to empower and inspire others. This exceptional young man is changing hearts and minds.

The Great Autism Practice Award
Create Art for Autism

Ludlow Street Healthcare are expanding creative opportunities for people with autism. Breaking down barriers and enabling creative expression. Congratulations to ‘Create Art for Autism’

The Outstanding Contribution Award
Tony Doyle, Care Without Compromise Ltd

Tony Doyle is an experienced nurse (RMN & RNLD) gained in high Intensity Specialist LD/MH within ABMU, Wales. He developed a nursing team that worked in a more proactively promoting multi-agency & disciplinary working.

The service promoted a culture that strived to promote the quality of life for the service user by promoting a positive approach. Through his team he development Intensive Support Approach, line managing psychologists & Behaviour Specialists supplying service through ABMU LHB area for adults and children enabling successful Community Care, developing Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and Management (PBM). He led this team to creating a formal training & accreditation framework used today across Wales in PBS. In partnership with Professor Dave Allen, Positive Response Training, they ran a widely recognised training & consultancy service providing best practices clinical services to families, businesses & individuals ensuring best care approach benefiting hundreds and protecting their independence & homes across UK. He also acted as a Consultant to a Specialist service for service users with Autism in Devon and Cornwall

Additionally, he has had published several publications to develop ongoing care practices some through BILD itself. Since retirement from ABMU he founded a Specialist CB residential care service supporting 18 mixed sex adults with intellectual difficulties across three sites, employing 60-people in support of 18 service users with dual diagnosis and autism. His service applies humanistic values underpinned using a strategy of inclusive staff-resident restraint reduction & behavioural understanding.

The emphasis on care is obtaining a quality of life for service users through the use of Positive Behaviour Support. His successful service is competent working through MDT situations and support those who challenge to achieve more life quality, and now takes a personal mentoring role, developing others in shaping deeper care values, competent care interventions to create solid career foundations for their growth.

Lets celebrate excellence in the learning disabilities sector and help it get the recognition it deserves