My Life My Choice had some amazing news last night! We won the Charity of the Year Award 2016 at the Oxfordshire Charity and Volunteer Awards ceremony at Oxford Town Hall.
Here’s what they read out about us…
In October 2015, the Oxford Mail ran a story about My Life My Choice (MLMC) with the headline “Our best year ever”. This was not an exaggeration.
Not only did MLMC have its highest ever income, it also won national acclaim for its campaigning work, pressing health authorities to learn lessons from the death of Oxford teenager Connor Sparrowhawk.
MLMC’s work draws on local people’s experiences to have a national impact. Three members were selected to serve on Guideline Committees at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Members are working with NHS England to inspect services. Member Paul Scarrott spoke in a live studio interview for Channel 5 News about NHS England’s plans for community services. Learning disabled trustees traveled independently to London and met the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.
MLMC has expanded its services for people here in Oxfordshire, opening three new self-advocacy groups for young people with learning disabilities. MLMC has also been awarded contracts from Oxfordshire County Council and CQC, allowing the charity to provide paid work for people with learning disabilities and improve services. Membership has grown by 15% to over 500 people with learning disabilities across Oxfordshire.
Our long serving trustee and founding father, Michael Edwards (the God Father!), won a Volunteer of the Year Award – Highly Commended.
Here’s what was said about Michael…
Michael Edwards was one of the three founding members of My Life My Choice (MLMC) and has been a key part of the organisation ever since. He has served as a volunteer trustee for the last eighteen years, playing a key role in steering the direction of the charity. Widely known and respected throughout Oxfordshire, he is known as “The Godfather” to staff, members of MLMC, and members of the community.
During the time that he has been volunteering for MLMC his enthusiasm and hard work has helped the charity to grow and thrive. He has personally recruited and inspired many of the 500 members. He works tirelessly as a campaigner for disability rights and regularly represents the charity at important meetings. Michael has made multiple TV and radio appearances, speaking up about the rights of people with learning disabilities.
Michael has a learning disability and a visual impairment, but this has not stopped him living his life to the full. During Learning Disability Week 2013, he travelled from John O’Groats to Land’s End by public transport – an epic 285 mile journey to promote accessible travel.
He continues to serve as an inspiration anyone who meets him. Winning this award would be well deserved and remind Michael how proud he should be of his achievements.
Here is Michael’s reaction to winning the award…