Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Winners of the Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List announced

Dimensions, along with Learning Disability England and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), have announced the winners of its annual Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List awards that celebrates the extraordinary stories and achievements of individuals across the UK.

The Leaders’ List gives people with learning disabilities and autism an opportunity to be recognised, celebrated and represented in the mainstream media.

Dimensions’ research has revealed that 75% of respondents feel that it is easy for people in the wider community to forget about people with learning disabilities and autism. Therefore, providing individuals with a platform to share their stories on the national stage remains vital to increasing representation.

Rachael Dodgson, CEO at Dimensions, said: “Dimensions is proud to present this award to all of this years’ Leaders’. The Leaders’ List is a reminder of the personal strengths and contributions that people with learning disabilities and autistic people make to the local community.”

Breadth of talents recognised in four categories

The 2022 Leaders were announced across four categories: arts and entertainment; local communities; work and education; and advocacy, policy and media. Recognising leaders across a broad spectrum of fields showcases the breadth of talents that people with learning disabilities and/or autism have.

The 2022 winners include:

  • Leanne Yeo – a two-time medallist at the Special Olympic games who has also singlehandedly raised over £4,500 for charity this year.
  • Elliott Garcia – who was cast as the voice of Bruno The Break Car, the first ever autistic character in Thomas and Friends, and has overcome many anxieties that came with this amazing opportunity.
  • Lewis Barlow – a leader of a gardening project in Warrington that encourages friendships and confidence amongst people with learning disabilities and autism.
  • Nigel Hollins – founder of the charity Beyond Words that seeks to help disabled people experience stories by creating word-free books and setting up book clubs across the country.
  • The Stop People Dying Too Young Group – a group that is challenging the unequal treatment of patients with autism and / or learning disabilities throughout the pandemic.

Leanne Yeo, 2022 Leaders’ List winner, said: “Initiatives and awards like this are really important to the disabled community. There aren’t many awards out there that recognise people with disabilities. We often put in so much hard work but don’t get much recognition so having such awards is really heartening. This makes us feel valued and that our contributions have made a difference.”

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