In this week’s blog I would like to celebrate the wonderful achievements of the people we support. On 16th May we held our annual People’s Awards, which are by far my favourite event of the whole year. Not only is it an opportunity to get suited and booted and enjoy an evening of great company, it is an evening to celebrate the achievements of the extraordinary people we support.
This year was extra special as it was the first event for the people we support combined as our new organisation (CMG and Regard). It was great to see so many familiar faces, but also to meet family members new and old. Another point I must add, it was the BIGGEST awards ceremony we have ever had, and everyone came dressed as the part.
The evening began with a drinks reception, followed on by a three course sit down meal and then of course what everyone was waiting for the ‘Awards Ceremony’. Every year without fail there is laughter, happiness and many tears. This year was no exception. There were 12 categories in total including best achievements in sports & leisure, education, performing arts, most inspirational person and group.
Below are some examples of the nominations:
Best Achievement in Sports and Leisure, Natalie, Bradwell House
“Natalie typically swims over 65 lengths in the swimming pool and has raised so far a total of over £6,800 since 2000. In preparation for her big swims, she has many training sessions to help build up her strength and stamina. It’s been touch and go as to whether she can swim this year as she recently had a seizure and fractured her hand. Yet Nat has sprit and depth in her character and is a credit to herself her parents and Bradwell House.”
Most Inspirational Individual, Fiifi, Upper Selsdon Road
“Fiifi has achieved so much over the last year, he has pushed his boundaries to develop his confidence and he is a real inspiration to others around him. Fiifi was asked to do a speech and presentation at the (Un) Ordinary conference, where he spoke about the relationship he had with his Mother who sadly passed away. He shared what bereavement has meant for him and how he copes with this on a day to day basis. This was a really brave thing to address particularly in front of an audience.”
Best Individual Achievement, Todd, Reddown Road
Todd has autism and is non-verbal, he struggles with change of routine and with certain activities. Since Todd has been at Reddown we have set him goals each week/month. He can now use public transport, allows his finger and toe nails to be cut which was a very challenging task previously. He prepares his own breakfast, wash up, use the dishwasher, tidy his room, do gardening and much more. He has even started cycling, using hand pedals.
Best Achievement in Paid Employment, Stacey, Town Farm workshop
“Stacey checks on the village playground for any health and safety issues. She completes a checklist and submits it to the local Parish Council. Previously Stacey was supported to carry out her checks, now she does them independently. Stacey has grown in confidence and makes a positive contribution to the local community. She feels really proud of her achievements and enjoys spending her well earned money.”
This event is very special to everyone, one mother flew all the way from Nigeria to see her daughter collect her award. Another powerful moment was when one of the gentlemen we support collected his award and made a speech: “We are not service users, we are not feeders, we are not wheelchairs and we are not defined by our disability, WE ARE PEOPLE!”
Sometimes it’s possible to only notice the great achievements of more able bodied people, these awards celebrate everyone and all achievements. Some achievements may seem small, but they are huge for others. Samir and Frankie have profound and multiple learning disabilities, but this doesn’t stop them. They are part of a self-advocacy group, Campaign 4 Change (C4C) who campaign about things that are important to them and people alike. They have been campaigning to increase the number of changing places in public areas. They were nominated by a fellow C4C group member and by someone that is supported by CMG and Regard, Mary Woodall. She said:
“I would like to nominate Frankie and Samir. Considering they have PMLD, they have done an amazing job, performing and representing people at the #mindyourlanguage campaign. They’ve been great at representing other people with PLMD in the C4C meetings. They are also doing a great job with their own campaign, to get more changing places in public areas. They are amazing happy people, who are always smiling and laughing. They are warm hearted and have amazing talent.”
I really can’t tell you how proud I am of all these amazing people, congratulations to you all!
Please see below for some of my favourite pictures from the night. You can also head over to our Facebook page to see more photos from the night: https://www.facebook.com/CareManagementGroup/?ref=bookmarks