Winners to be celebrated at virtual event hosted by BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce
In advance of International Day of Disabled Persons
Annual list timely as 75% of people with learning disabilities and autism confess they feel forgotten
by wider community
Dimensions, one of the country’s largest not-for-profits supporting people with learning disabilities, autism, behaviours of distress and complex health needs, has announced the 40 finalists of its renowned 2022 Leaders’ List. By providing autistic individuals and people with learning disabilities with a media platform, the Leaders’ List aims to accelerate positive social change and celebrate amazing achievements.
Research by Dimensions revealed that 84% of respondents believe individuals with autism and learning disabilities should be more visible in sports, arts, and media. Likewise, a further 75% agreed that it is easy for people with autism and learning disabilities to be overlooked by society. This is a startling reminder that wider representation for the talents and achievements of this group is essential and highlights the importance of initiatives like the Leaders’ List.
The forty finalists are divided into four different categories: advocacy, policy, and the media; getting involved in your local communities; work and education; and sports, arts, and entertainment. Within these categories, the activities of previous Leaders have ranged from advocating for autism and disability-friendly Pride events to fundraising for sensory dogs in schools.
Judges for the 2022 Leaders’ List include some of the fantastic Leaders from last year, whose past experience uniquely positions them to honour this year’s finalists. For example, Chloe Douds who campaigned for Pride events to be more accessible and inclusive for those with autism and/ or a physical disability, or Rita-May Barker-Lyon who became a Local communities Leaders for her extensive fundraising efforts with various charities and her school. Kumudu Perera, a Covid Information Support Leader from 2020 who worked hard during lockdown to ensure people with learning disabilities did not feel isolated, is also on the judging panel this year.
The 40 finalists will be announced steadily across Dimensions’ social media in the run up to the awards ceremony on 2nd December. Winners will be featured on the Dimensions website where they can share their experience through guest blogs, and receive exclusive gifts, trophies, and certificates.
Dr Mark Brookes MBE, Advocacy Lead at Dimensions UK, said: “We are delighted to announce the finalists for this year’s Dimensions’ Leaders List. Each entry was so impressive and so interesting, showcasing an incredible range of talents and achievements. We’re very proud to celebrate these remarkable stories from people who have given so much to their families, friends, and communities.”
Learning Disability England said: “Every year the Leaders List helps to change attitudes and inspire all of us. These stories show people what people with learning disabilities or autism do every day to make our communities and society better.”
The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group said: “VODG is a proud supporter of the Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List. This offers a wonderful opportunity for us to shine a big bright light on the achievements and contributions that people with a learning disability and autistic people make to communities and to the lives of others every day. Our congratulations to all the well-deserved finalists.”
Chloe Douds, Leaders List judge and 2021 finalist said: “Being on then leaders list is a huge achievement and one that everyone who has been nominated should proud of. The work that everyone has done has helped change attitudes and opinions around learning disabled and autistic people and improved countless lives – well done everyone.”