To mark 25 years of supporting people with neurological conditions across Merseyside, and further afield, The Brain Charity held a glittering awards ceremony at our centre on Thursday 5th July. The Brain Charity Awards 2018 recognise the talent, dedication and innovation of individuals and teams across all aspects of the disability community. The awards were presented by our Chair of Trustees, Professor Bill Chambers, and the winners were as follows:
Creative Talent: Joint winners Georgina Parker and Sarah Coughlin
Georgina has dedicated her time to forming and growing one of Liverpool’s most successful community choirs despite dealing with the demands of completing a full time music degree and coping with the challenges of 3 serious health conditions. Her encouragement and patience in supporting people with neurological conditions to sing and perform is astounding.
After receiving a serious brain injury Sarah began to draw. Since developing her talent her work is highly personal and often depicts the complex and often torturous journey people with neurological conditions will often be forced to make. Sarah is highly creative; she works hard to involve others in the classes she attends and will often take the reins in running the groups if needed.
Most Supportive Employer: The Reader Organisation
The Reader is a fantastic community organisation which encourages shared reading to improve well-being, reduce social isolation and build resilience in diverse communities. As an employer The Reader has shown an incredibly positive attitude towards employing individuals facing barriers and has an active working relationship with the National Downs Syndrome Association’s Work Fit service.
Sports Talent: Terry Dean
Terry is an unassuming gentlemen with an amazing past. He is a real sports talent with many great achievements under his belt including being a cross country runner, an award winning 5-a-side football champ and has competed nationally and internationally becoming a bronze, silver and gold medal Paralympic winner for both high jump and javelin categories.
Community Organisation: Active Community Enterprise (A.C.E.)
A.C.E. are a community based support service for adults with learning disabilities who have been working across Liverpool for over 17 years. They offer a fully structured weekly programme of training, assisted paid and voluntary work. Their work helps to develop an individual’s social status, friendship groups, sense of self-worth and helps them function within society as a whole.
Outstanding Health Professional: Dr Nicholas Silver
Dr Nicolas Silver has been a consultant neurologist at The Walton Centre since 2004 and is an expert in severe and refractory headache disorders. His persistence in getting to the root causes of his patients' conditions and actively seeking out new treatments for them has ensured that he has become a real hero to many of his patients visiting The Walton Centre.
Outstanding Social Care Professional: Amy Cook
Amy is an extremely hard worker who always puts the people she is there to care for first. She is a kind and sensitive individual who constantly ensures that her service users have everything they need. She is someone who the individuals she cares for really look forward to seeing and has been described by one person she has cared for as, "The best carer I have ever had". Maureen Evans is pictured accepting the award on behalf of Amy.
Outstanding Education Professional Laura Waite
Laura is a professor of disability history and an expert in her field. Laura is a dedicated and inspiring professional and an active campaigner for the rights of disabled people. She always seeks to make sure that those in her class who might be facing barriers themselves are well catered for and able to take full and active roles in the classroom. She is extremely dedicated to the cause of the disability movement and is an inspirational educational professional.
Volunteer of the Year: Joint winners Tracy Wynne and Michelle Burke
Tracy is a volunteer who works hard to campaign for the rights of people with a learning disability. She continuously puts her whole heart and soul into volunteering to ensure that the vulnerable people she supports are involved and feel cared for. Tracy is a dedicated volunteer at both The Brain Charity and at People First Merseyside and is a fantastic role model for us all.
Michelle is an active volunteer at both Liverpool CAB, The Brain Charity and the Ataxia Northwest Support Group. Despite having Ataxia, she uses her intelligence and passion to ensure that vulnerable people across the region have access to the services and benefits vital to them to survive. In the past Michelle has suffered from a punctured lung and pneumonia and still turned up to volunteer in order to help other people. She is truly an amazing volunteer.
Entrepreneur of Excellence Laura Murphy
Laura has both autism and epilepsy. She is also a great entrepreneur being the creator of Cherish my Sweets and Hampers, a party confectionery business with a flavour for all things candy! Laura has shown a great deal of business skills and drive in forming her party confectionery enterprise and is a shining example of how commitment and determination are the top two key steps to success.
The Sir Bert Massie Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Lady Massie: Patrick Burke
Patrick was born with a learning disability and spent his childhood living in large institutions in and around Liverpool, as did many children born with learning disabilities at that time. After changes to the way our society viewed disabled people, Patrick was eventually allowed to move out into the community and to gain his own independence. Since then and for the last 30 years, he has been an active volunteer for People First Merseyside.
Patrick is a strong public speaker who bravely and openly discusses the horrors of the past and the personal abuses he has suffered in order to teach the world about what life was like for people living in such institutions. He says that he wants to make sure that people know what happened to him to make sure that this never happens again. It takes great courage and strength to survive being brought up in such devastating circumstances. It is hard to imagine how an adult can cope in an environment without freedom, choice or dignity. The idea that a child could cope with this and go on to become such a kind hearted, fun-loving and positive individual is testament to the human spirit and we are all very proud to have him in our community.
He is a warm, thoughtful and humble gentleman who deserves every bit of the praise and recognition that this award brings.