Wakefield District Health and Care Partnership proudly honoured individuals with learning disabilities for their remarkable accomplishments during Learning Disability Week, which took place from 19 to 25 June 2023. The event culminated in an awards ceremony on Thursday, 22 June, where residents and their families were recognised for their outstanding achievements.

The ceremony showcased the remarkable talents and contributions of individuals living with learning disabilities, with over 70 nominations received across six distinct categories. These categories included Making a Difference, Contribution to the Community, Promoting Learning Disability Awareness, Promoting Change, Most Creative, and Celebrating Achievements.

The esteemed awards were presented by Wakefield Trinity players, Mason Lino and Kelepi Tanginoa, adding a touch of excitement to the occasion. Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty, and Health, extended her heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and nominees, expressing her delight in being able to acknowledge their incredible accomplishments.

In a truly exceptional move, the judges unanimously decided to present an Outstanding Achievement award to Catherine Horbury, an advocate and champion for the learning disability community. Catherine received an unprecedented number of nominations for her unwavering dedication and invaluable contributions.

Catherine’s efforts have been focused on promoting inclusivity and empowerment, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those she touches. Notably, she played a pivotal role in improving the healthcare system by spearheading the implementation of a surgical pathway that guarantees individuals with learning disabilities are scheduled for surgery within eight weeks. Her commitment extends beyond the local community, as she actively raises national awareness about this pathway, aiming to inspire other NHS Trusts across the country to adopt similar measures.

In addition to her involvement with the Learning Disability and Autism Partnership Board and self-advocacy groups, Catherine has played a crucial role in the development of the Learning Disability Strategy. Her resolute dedication to enhancing the lives of individuals with learning disabilities is truly commendable.

Expressing her pride in representing the community, Catherine stated, “I am proud to be able to represent people from the community and show how people with learning disabilities have our own strengths – give us the opportunity and we can show you what we can do.”

Cllr Cummings also paid tribute to Catherine’s exceptional work, describing her as a remarkable individual who has devoted her life to empowering people with learning disabilities and advocating for their rights. Catherine’s efforts have proven invaluable in promoting inclusivity, fostering understanding, and raising awareness of the needs of individuals with learning disabilities.

The Wakefield District Health and Care Partnership, comprising NHS organisations, Wakefield Council, Healthwatch Wakefield, housing, and voluntary and community sector organisations, collaborated to make Learning Disability Week a resounding success. For more information on Learning Disability Week, visit https://www.mencap.org.uk/LDWeek.