25 May 2016 saw over 140 finalists from all over the country come together for the Judging day of the National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards and we are really pleased to announce that our very own James Punch has been nominated. Everyone at Freedom Care has their fingers crossed for James, who will now be at the final in July.

James Punch

After being inundated by nominations the search to find the category winners of the third National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards is almost complete. Shortlisted finalists were invited to attend the judging day which was hosted by Weightmans Solicitors in Birmingham, bringing together the crème de la crème of the social care workforce who support people with autism or a learning disability. Judges represented all corners of the sector, all of whom commented on the high standard of candidates and the difficult job to find the category winners.

The Awards, which are being organised by Care Talk magazine in association with The Voluntary Organisation Disabilities Group (VODG), will take place on 14th July 2016 at the prestigious ICC in Birmingham. The evening will consist of a drinks reception, a superb gourmet dinner followed by the awards presentation with celebrity host Christopher Biggins and surprise entertainment

The Judging Day was held in association with Turning Point, a leading health and social care organisation with over 25 years’ experience of supporting people with a learning disability, who bought along staff and the people they support to assist on the day. Finalists at the judging day 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 – one thing they all had in common was they epitomised the unsung heroes of communities. Without such people quality, person centred support for people with a learning disability would fail.

The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards are a celebration of excellence across the learning disability and autism sector. The purpose of the awards is to promote best practice and pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work.

There are a total of twenty one awards categories available for nomination, representing 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 housing.

On 14th July the National Learning Disabilities Show will also take place at The ICC from 10 am – 3 pm. The Show Working Together, is being is being led by Turning Point. It is being co-produced by people with a learning disability, providing a unique national platform to voice a unique perspective for the sector, and will be the forerunner to the Awards; ensuring a full day and night of celebrations.

Both The Show and The Awards have also received support from across the sector, Association for Real Change (Arc), Care England, Fitzroy, Mencap, The National Autistic Society and The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) aswell as commercial support.

Professor Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG, said:

“It is time to celebrate great care and that is why the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group is delighted to support the National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards. Many of the best-known organisations supporting people with learning disabilities and autism are VODG members delivering responsive, high-quality, person-centered services day in, day out. This is not easy given current economic pressures which makes it all the more important to recognise and celebrate excellence and hold it up as an example for others to learn from and aspire to.”

Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, said:

“Social care work is one of the most difficult, and at the same time, one of the most spiritually rewarding careers. People who work in social care, make a huge difference to the lives of the people they work with, and are some of society’s unsung heroes.

The Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards looks to redress the lack of recognition that people who work in social care receive, and is recognising and rewarding the very best in the social care workforce, giving them praise and respect for the transformational work that they do every day.”

James has been nominated in The Trainer Award category with the people listed below.
The Trainer Award
Sangita Boyd – Alium Care Training Ltd
Denise Wherton – Allied Healthcare
James Punch – Freedom Care
Siobhan Maguire – Maguire Training & Consultancy
Rachel Blackburn – Millennium Care Services
Steve McGuinness – Msitua – Autism Consultancy
Emma Jones – National Autistic Society
Vicky Ackroyd – Purple Patch Arts
Sue Sharples – U-Night Group

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