Learning Disabilities & Autism News

Celebrating the boundary-pushers: Nominations open for the 2024 Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List Awards

The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List, an annual awards spearheaded by not-for-profit Dimensions, member organisation VODG and sector collaboration My Vote My Voice, has opened for nominations for 2024.

Now in its sixth year, the Leaders’ List is the UK’s first national awards which recognises people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are challenging stereotypes, taking a lead in their lives, and making communities better for themselves and others. It is a unique celebration of boundary-pushing individuals who have achieved something incredible – anything and everything that they’re proud of.

From cooking their own dinner to raising thousands for charity to breaking barriers for people with disabilities in the arts, the Leaders’ List celebrates stories of real people who have made a meaningful difference to the lives of themselves or others.

This year, the winners will be invited to an extra special event to honour their achievements at Cineworld O2 London in April. Hosted by Greatest Hits Radio DJ Ken Bruce, the ceremony will put the inspiring winners at its heart, offering free entry, supporting them with accessible information and facilities, and letting them take centre stage to get the recognition they deserve.

Nominations for the Leaders’ List Awards are now open, and they close at 8am on Monday 29th January 2024. Anybody with a learning disability and autism can enter or be nominated. Nominations can be made online or a more accessible option can be agreed on. The submission forms are available in plain text and easy read, and there’s a Word document available to download to prepare your answers.

A team of people with lived experience and inspiring former winners will be judging the awards and selecting the winners. Dimensions is encouraging anyone who feels proud of, or inspired by, someone with learning disabilities or autism to submit a nomination.

Rachael Dodgson, Chief Executive of Dimensions, says:

“We are incredibly excited to usher in our next cohort of Leaders. We still see so much misrepresentation and underestimation of autistic people and people with learning disabilities across society, so providing a platform to celebrate their achievements remains as important as ever.

Our awards ceremony next spring is set to be a standout event of the year. Have you had an exceptional 12 months? Did you overcome a huge barrier or reach a personal goal? Do you know someone who is particularly creative, strong, or kind? We’d really love to hear about it.”

Ken Bruce, Greatest Hits Radio DJ and 2022 Leaders’ List ceremony host, said: 

“Year in year out, the stories we see through the Leaders’ List are incredible. It is a brilliant kaleidoscope of people pushing forward and building better communities for us all, and it’s always a joy reading about their achievements, spanning arts and entertainment, education, and advocacy. Amidst a news cycle that can admittedly focus on the negatives, it’s great to take a step back and shine a light on individuals who show we can always be doing more for the world around us.”

There are four categories for the Leaders’ List, recognising a vast range of achievements of people with learning disabilities and autism:

  • Sports, Arts and Entertainment – celebrating people who have creative and athletic achievements
  • Advocacy, Policy and the Media – celebrating people who are trying to make their communities a better, more inclusive place where everybody is respected
  • Local Communities – when people work together, brilliant things happen. This award celebrates people who are making a difference to, or getting involved in, their local community
  • Work and Education – celebrating people who are in paid work or are learning new things

The Leaders’ List is supported by VODG and My Vote My Voice, a campaign encouraging people with learning disabilities and autistic people vote in the 2024 General Election.

 

Kirsty

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