Gary Bourlet and Dr Mark Brookes
The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List is all about celebrating the achievements of people with learning disabilities and autistic people.
As well as an award, it is a national recognition of achievement.
The winners’ stories are shared nationally, and they receive a certificate, celebration pack and VIP invite to a celebration event.
The awards are run by Dimensions, in partnership with Learning Disability England and Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG).
We have been both been judges for the Leaders’ List and won awards for our work as self-advocacy leaders.
(Mark made it onto the Leaders List and Gary on the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100, celebrating influential disabled people in the UK.)
Gary on what it felt like to win an award:
“It was a nice feeling because people were letting me know what I had achieved and could see it, I hadn’t realised it myself.
I always like to ask people ‘am I doing well?’ and when I won it felt like everyone was telling me ‘Yes! You are’”
Mark on what it was like to win:
“Winning was a triple wammy for me, I got a doctorate, an MBE and made it onto the Leaders List all in one year!
I felt really honoured to get three in one go.”
We both found it more difficult to judge the Leaders’ List, it felt like everyone was a winner.
At the same time, it was great to read all the applications, there was not one person that didn’t deserve it.
It was really uplifting and positive as well as a long and tiring process.
We want to encourage people to nominate anyone with a learning disability and/or autism who they think are inspiring.
Achievements are judged on what they mean to a person.
We also think it’s really important to recognise young people and minority ethnic people.
But anyone can be nominated with a learning disability and/or autism who is from the United Kingdom, you can nominate as many people as you want and even yourself.
You can find all the details here on how you can nominate. There are easy-read and plain texts forms to fill out.
You can also ask questions and find out about previous winners.
The Leaders’ List makes people’s lives better, winning gives people confidence and a sense of achievement.
For lots of people it is the beginning of a journey, for us both we were already well into our journey.
But for many people it helps them to feel they can go on to achieve better things and have a bright future.
The award can also be a starting point to promote your image and networks.
Most importantly, The Leaders’ List shows the world what people with learning disabilities can achieve.