Finalists for the second Northern Ireland Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards have been announced.

Nominations were invited from across the social care sector in Northern Ireland; including private, statutory and voluntary organisations. Shortlisted finalists have been invited to attend a judging day and the winner will be announced at a gala dinner which takes place on 21st June also at The Hilton, Belfast.

Hosted by Care Talk Magazine, the awards are now in their fifth year but this is just the second year they have expanded to include a bespoke event in Northern Ireland.

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 Рpeople 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 the National Care Forum, Mencap, The National Autistic Society, Social Care Institute for Excellence and The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG).

Partners for the awards in Northern Ireland are The Association for Real Change Northern Ireland (ARC) and Mencap Northern Ireland.


The Breaking Down Barriers Award
Craigavon and Banbridge Day Care Team, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Orchardville Training and Resource Centre, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Meroe McGale & West Belfast Living Options Team, The Cedar Foundation
Julie Ann Kelly, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
The Employer Award
Kris Martin, Ground Espresso Bars
Belfast Health & Social Services Trust (Learning Disability & PCSS Services)
The Great Autism Practice Award
Disability Day Services Team, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Ciaran Wadforth and Alexander Penny, Southern Health & Social Care Trust
The Learning Disability Nurse Award
Chanelle Crawford, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Damien Okane, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Gail McLean, Priory Group
Bernie McNaughton, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
The Lord Rix Award Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities
Glanree House Support Staff, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Emma Clarke, Four Seasons Health Care
The Making a Difference Award
Support Assistants The Mews, The Cedar Foundation
Michael McAllister, Leonard Cheshire
Linda Laverty and Matthew Lee, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Day Opportunities, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
The Manager Award
Anne Campbell, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Claire Quail, Four Seasons Health Care
Dympna Casey, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Cathy Hayes, Autism Initiatives Northern Ireland
Carmel McGrath, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Sean Hanna, NOW Group
Hazel Mcmullan, Priory Group
The Newcomer Award
Jonnie Rice, Cedar Foundation
Josh McConnell, NOW Group
The People’s Award
The Sky’s The Limit
Mourneview Court, The Cedar Foundation
Chris Campbell, NOW Group
The Positive Behaviour Support Award
Sebastian Cichosz, The Cedar Foundation
Emma Rafferty, Priory Healthcare
Deborah Lawlor, Cedar Foundation
The Sporting Chance Award
Orchardville Disability Football Club (DFC), Orchardville Society Ltd
Belfast Hills Partnership, Belfast Hills Partnership
The Support Worker Award
Eoin Devanney, The Cedar Foundation
Courtney Lemon, Four Seasons Health Care
Hana Vrabelova, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Fiona Poland, Autism Initiatives Northern Ireland
Kyle Scott, Cedar Foundation
The Supported Housing Award
Paul Johnston, Cedar Foundation
Golden Lane Housing
The Trainer Award
Briege McFall, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Tracy O’Neill, Mencap
Carina Douglas, Priory Group