Thursday 20th June 2019 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 second Welsh Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards.
Hosted by Care Talk Magazine, the awards are now in their fifth year, but this is only the second year they have expanded to include a bespoke event in Wales. The evening was compered by Steve Walls and guests we treated to an uplifting performance by Choir Accomplishments.

The Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the successes of individuals, teams and businesses in the learning disabilities and autism 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 National Care Forum, Mencap, The National Autistic Society, Social Care Institute for Excellence and The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG).

Vic Rayner, Executive Director at the National Care Forum, said:

“The National Care Forum are delighted to support the Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2019. 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. “

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

The Employer Award

The team from Accomplish impressed the judges with their passion and drive. They demonstrated that despite being large organisation, they very much kept their vision and values at the heart of everything they do. A dynamic senior management team who were able to showcase their knowledge and pride within each part of their organisation, keeping local care at the heart.

The Newcomer Award
Paul Baxter – CMG and Regard

Paul has an unbelievable passion for his role, and a true desire to enrich the lives of the people he supports. He is a credit to the organisation and was a pleasure to chat to.

The Support Worker Award
Hannah Bernard – National Star

Hannah’s passion and dedication to her role was evident immediately. Hannah goes above and beyond to meet the needs of her students, encouraging choice and independence at all times. Hannah’s face lit up when talking about her job. A real credit to her company!

The Manager Award
Siobhan Casey – Priory Group

Siobhan is a deeply involved and personally invested manager who instils the core company ethos within her staff team. She is full of life, passion and humour and wholly deserves this award.

The Learning Disability Nurse Award
Paula Hopes – Swansea Bay University Health Board

Paula was very enthusiastic during the interview and really demonstrated a willingness to provide person centred and individualised care to the patients. She challenges complacency within the work place and encourages staff to think outside the box to best support the patients.

The Making a Difference Award
Clara Nee Davies – Orbis Education and Care

Clara’s passion and adoration for her role made us almost weep with pure joy! Her caring nature and desire to maintain staff wellbeing perfectly encompasses the nature of making a difference.

The Trainer Award
Learning and Development Team – Accomplish Group

An exceptional team of trainers who go above and beyond in motivating staff to provide quality, person centred support aswell as offering new opportunities to service users to promote independence and wellbeing.

The Breaking Down Barriers Award
Joe Gibby – Orbis Education and Care

Joe has progressed within his role and clearly enjoys and is passionate about this. Joe has implemented new communication tools which the service is developing to allow the service users more choice and independence.

The Great Autism Practice Award
Bryn Ifron Team – Accomplish Group

The team at Bryn Irfon go above and beyond in empowering the people they support to believe they can reach their full potential. The team support each other to deliver innovative, person centred support.

The Positive Behaviour Support Award
Kirstie Davies – CMG and Regard

Kirstie was very warm and passionate during the interview and she spoke from her heart. Kirstie discussed how PBS is used to improve the lives of the people she supports. She gave lovely examples of how PBS has improved the quality of individuals lives and really made a difference.

The People’s Award
Dean Osborne – Orbis Education and Care

Dean was clearly very passionate about providing a high-quality service within his role. Dean is very innovative and came up with a new value system and design. Dean has built lovely rapports with the service users and goes over and beyond what is expected of him.

The Outstanding Contribution Award
Michael Fullerton – CMG and The Regard Group

Michael is currently Clinical Director with CMG Regard. A registered Learning Disabilities Nurse

Michael has a wealth of experience in the sector. He has made a huge impact in the areas of positive behaviour support, health support, support for older people with a learning disability and supporting and promoting social understanding, to name but a few.

Amongst Michael’s many achievements he was instrumental in developing an agreed set of service standards for the support of children and adults with profound multiple learning disabilities.

It was evident to Michael that there was little political interest in this population of people with no specific consideration of their needs, and hence these standards were developed following consultation with a range of stakeholders including family carers.
To launch the Standards, Michael and his team created a national conference, Raising the Bar and the Standards have now been endorsed by NHS England and Norman Lamb MP.
Michael is a well-respected profile in the sector and is committed to changing lives for people with a learning disability, autism and mental health conditions.