Winners of Kent Learning Disability Partnership Awards announced

Kent County Council has announced the winners of its third annual Learning Disability Partnership Awards to celebrate unsung heroes who are making a difference to others.

More than 100 nominations were received for people, businesses and services who had gone the extra mile to support and improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.

The winners attended an awards ceremony on 13 September at County Hall where they were presented with their awards by KCC Leader Paul Carter, Sam Holman, Joint Chair of Kent Learning Disability Partnership Board and Daniel Hewitt, the Shadow Joint Chair of the Board.

The winners in the six award categories are:

Employer of people with a learning disability award

Winner: MCCH Tuck By Truck, Herne Bay. Award collected by Lisa Creasy and Michael Duignan-Murphy

The award is for supporting people with learning disabilities to find work and gain work-related skills and judges were impressed with the impact the staff team has on the people who attend this organisation which is immense. They not only teach people new skills, they also support people emotionally so individuals grow in confidence and go on to greater skills.

Paul Pinder, 58, from Herne Bay who works at Tuck by Truck and nominated them, said: “Karen and the staff work hard to try to get us into employment. We learn skills and earn money. They support us going out in the van to deliver to factories. The staff are really friendly and help us if we get stuck.

Mr Duignan-Murphy said: “We are delighted to receive the award. It recognises the great work that’s carried out at the enterprises and the great support for individuals to progress.”


Citizenship Award (opening up communities)

Winner 1: The Taking Action Film Group led by Louise Flatman and Tanya Orchin of North Kent Independent Advocacy Scheme

The group has worked hard for more than a year to bring the community together to record a song about beating hate crime. The judges were impressed by the passion and dedication given to the project by all involved


Winner 2: Jamie Clark and Callum Speed

Jamie and Callum serve up a three-course meal and then wash up at the St Margate’s-at-Cliffe OAP’s luncheon club. Their nomination said, “They have brought the young and not-so young together, eliminating discrimination. Jamie and Callum both have Downs Syndrome but this is not who they are, they are community champions.”


Supporting People with Learning Disabilities Awards

Winner: Kelly Mirsky, Exercise 4 All

Kelly does seated exercise at the District Partnership Groups in Dover, Thanet and Canterbury and is the Keep Fit Instructor for Marbleside Care Home in Margate as well as operating across the county. The judges felt she inspires people to be active and enjoy exercise and she gives so much of her time for free. Her nominees said she has an ‘infectious laugh and is always smiling, she makes exercise fun’.


Supported Housing Award

Winner: Tessa Duffy, Managing Director of The Symbols Trust in Lenham

The Symbols Trust provides a range of services for people with disabilities, including supported living and other work to support people with learning disabilities to develop their skills and confidence, make choices about their lives, and give them opportunities to engage with and contribute to the community. She was nominated by a group of parents who wanted to thank Tessa for the work that she has been doing. The judges said the ‘wealth of activities and support given by Tessa to her clients gives them a real sense of value and inclusion’.

Tessa said: “It’s lovely, I’m delighted to be nominated by some of our parents who support all of us and this is very much for the whole team. It is a great pleasure to receive this award.”


Helping People Stay Healthy Award

Winner 1: Kent Football Association. The award was collected by Amy Rutland, Natalie Curtis and Paul Dolan.

Kent FA use football to make a positive difference to the health of people with a learning disability in Kent. As a result of the support and investment of Kent FA, participation in football by learning disability players is now at an all-time high. The judges felt that Kent FA were worthy winner for giving a large number of individuals the opportunity to enjoy sport and stay fit and healthy. The judges were also impressed that this was now expanding and some people with learning disabilities were now involved in mainstream football matches.


Winner 2: Chris Hunter and Des Clarke, community nurses in the Learning Disabilities team in Dover and Thanet.

Chris and Des lead a team to teach people about health. They are affectionately known as the Comedy Duo and go above and beyond their roles, investing their own time to create pieces of work that are easy to understand, interactive, fun and memorable. The judges said Chris and Des made health fun for a large group of people and their enthusiasm had a lasting effect on people.

Chris said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed and over the moon about the award. It is always good fun attending the district partnership board. This will drive us on to do more to support people to be healthy, happy and safe.”


People’s Award

Winner: Jade Cawston, from Minster-on-Sea, volunteer at Seashells Centre in Sheerness

This award celebrates someone with a learning disability who, through hard work, has made a difference to their own or other people’s lives. The judges felt Jade does a great job as a volunteer, supporting families and carers. Her involvement there, in the Local District Partnership Group and Swale CCG show she has an impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities and her families. The judges felt her activities and unselfish attitude fit the requirements of this award perfectly.

Jade said: “I’m really proud.”

Speaking at the awards, Penny Cole, Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “We received more than 100 nominations for the award and each one recognizes the hard work of individuals and organisations for people with learning disabilities. This can often go unrecognized and these awards will go some way to addressing this.”


To find out more about the Kent Learning Disability Partnership Board, visit

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