A Day and Evening of Celebrations in learning disabilities & autism

On Thursday 14th July, over 700 people from the learning disabilities and autism sector attended a Day and Evening of Celebration at Birmingham’s ICC, for The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Show and Awards.

Show delegates and Awards guests represented all areas of the sector, including inspirational people with a learning disability, charities, private care providers, residential and nursing homes and local authority adult social care departments. The one thing these individuals had in common was that they epitomised the unsung heroes of our communities. Without such individuals, quality, person centred support for people with a learning disability would fail.

During the day the National Learning Disabilities Show, ‘Working Together’ took place. This year’s Show was led by Turning Point, a leading health and social care organisation with over 25 years’ experience of supporting people with a learning disability. The event was co-produced with people who have learning disabilities and will celebrate partnerships.

In the evening a glittering awards ceremony took place, celebrating excellence across the sector and paying tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work. Categories represented all areas of the sector, from frontline staff such as support workers and managers to people who have made an impact in other ways through training, breaking down barriers and best autism practice.

The gala dinner started in style with a drinks reception, followed by a superb gourmet meal and entertainment from The Ebrook Choir. The awards were hosted by TV personality Christopher Biggins, and were followed by more celebrations and dancing into the night.

Support for the event includes Mencap, The Association for Real Change (Arc), Care England, Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), as well other sector and commercial organisations.

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

The Employer Award – Independent
Alison Rose-Quirie, Swanton Care and Community Ltd

Alison’s leadership skills have developed the business through big changes and installed a culture of positivity and effective working practices.

The Employer Award – Not For Profit
Lee Hendon & Wayne Hardiman, Jaffray Care Group

Lee Hendon & Wayne Hardiman were very passionate about Jaffray Care Group

The Employer of People with a Disability Award
Project Choice, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospital

This project is something all organisations can do, it is the right thing to do and it makes a real difference to people’s lives and the organisation. This should happen on a national scale.

The Newcomer Award
Tasmin Jones, Lucy Glyn Support Services

A true Professional, Tasmin never stops learning and delivers her whole every day. A very Worthy Winner.

The Support Worker Award – Independent
Nigel Anderson, Pathway to Independence Springfield Healthcare

Nigel is very passionate about his role as support worker and has used his life skills to really develop and motivate others to become more independent.

The Support Worker Award – Not for Profit
Noel Brown, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust

Noel has achieved some outstanding work with some of the clients he has supported with his service

The Manager Award
Loraine Atherton, RMP Care

Loraine is dedicated and passionate and gave many examples of how her service has made a difference in the lives of the people who use it.

The Senior Manager Award
Sara Woodall, The Accord Group

Sara heads up an innovative project creating meaningful employment for people with a learning disability. A truly inspiring and pioneering community service.

The Frontline Leaders Award
Katherine Dann, Beyond Limits

Katherine is passionate and person centred and we loved her enthusiasm and commitment to making a difference.

The Learning Disability Nurse Award
Andrew Birkenshaw, Bradford District Care Foundation Trust

He enables others to deliver a positive service to benefit the service user. He leads by example, is passionate and full of enthusiasm for his work.

The Making a Difference Award – Independent
Alison Owen, Speakup Self Advocacy

Alison has overcome her own challenges to influence and change for people with a learning disability. A passionate and inspirational individual who really has made a difference.

The Making a Difference Award – Organisation
SPICE, Future Directions CIC

SPICE – are outstanding in their passion to make a difference. Challenging society views and helping public services to have a better awareness of people with disabilities. They deserve whole heartedly to win this award in recognition of what they’ve achieved and what they continue to aspire too.

The Outstanding Contribution to Innovation Award
Rashmi Becker, University of Cambridge

Given the power of photography as a medium, Rashmi has captured moments that matter in the lives of people with a learning disability and autism.

The Trainer Award
Vicky Ackroyd, Purple Patch Arts

Creative, focused and committed to making a difference. Raising awareness of what people with learning disabilities can do with no limits!

The Supported Housing Award
Daniel Cross and Di Benden, Tolevan House, Advance

Di demonstrated how Tolevan has changed people’s lives. It offers an exceptionally well designed cluster of homes in Cornwall, with support that empowers people to live the life they choose.

The Breaking Down Barriers Award
RAID and PBS Implementation Team, Partnerships in Care

Challenging people and attitudes towards learning, disability within wider community but also individually. Inspiring people’s belief in themselves.

The Sporting Chance Award
The Dance Leader Team, Dance Syndrome

A creative energetic dance company committed to supporting people to build trust and relationships through dance and performing arts. The company trains dance leaders to cascade further opportunities for more people

The Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities
The Selwyn Road Team, Outward

Stunning group of workers who clearly go the extra mile to make life enjoyable, in the most extreme circumstances Service Users needs are upheld and exceeded.

The Great Autism Practice Award
Wast Hills Autism Service, Danshell Healthcare Group

A passionate, person centred and outcome focused service that is delivering truly great innovative services and transforming the lives of the people they are working with.

The People’s Award
Sarah Offley, Dudley Voices for Choice Self Advocacy

Impressed us with and energy and enthusiasm with genuine desire to make lives better for people with learning disabilities and autism.
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The Outstanding Contribution Award
Lee Hendon, Jaffray Care

Lee has worked in the field of Learning Disabilities since 1987 when she qualified as an LD Nurse.

She is now Chief Executive of the Charity Jaffray care Group.

For almost 30 years her entire Career has been focused on improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Lee was one of the pioneers of developing services that were responsible for implementing a philosophy of care so that people with a learning disability have a right to live in ordinary homes in the community and share the benefits and privileges of society.

She worked in complex health care for eight years as a LD Staff Nurse.

Lee felt so strongly that some people with people with a learning disability were not having their mental health needs so she trained in mental health to gain a better understanding of this

She also worked as a Nurse in a prison environment and worked hard for the rights of people with LD to be recognised within the system.

What Staff and Service Users love about her is that despite her business focus she insists on delivering training so she can interact and engage with front line staff.


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

For information on the National Learning Disabilities awards visit http://www.nationalldawards.co.uk