In the last five years, the people we support have achieved over 650 external awards and qualifications – a fantastic achievement.

Working towards these awards has provided important structured activity to give individuals something to focus on and aim for throughout the changing periods of lockdown during the pandemic. For many, it meant the opportunity to develop new skills in a range of settings.

The awards were gained in a range of schemes such as: The Duke of Edinburgh award, Mencap Gateway Award, BAGA gymnastics Award, RYA Helmsman Award, The National Navigation Award, Rock Hopper swimming awards, John Muir Awards and the ASDAN award.

The awards highlight the achievements of both the people we support and the staff who work with them to complete their goals.

Emma Crabb (pictured above) is the Awards Manager for Autism Together and is in charge of coordinating all the external awards and certificates that we support people in our services to achieve.

Emma said: “The awards have been specially adapted into a person-centred journey to ensure every person we support has the ability to achieve their individual goals. Not only do they provide objectives, promote independence and highlight the great work they complete – they also have a really positive effect on the wellbeing of all involved.”

Within our residential and supported living services, the likes of the ASDAN awards have helped individuals strive towards independent living, learning how to bake, cook, access the community safely and developing confidence in being creative.

Within our CVS day services participants have gained new abilities and certificates in Arts & Crafts, Performing Arts, Fitness, Horticulture, Self-Advocacy and more.

Throughout the past 12 months, we have seen a number of success stories, including:

  • A group from the Community Health and Wellbeing department conquering the Glyderau challenge.
  • Individuals baking fantastic cakes to raise awareness for Autism on World Autism Day.
  • People having successfully adapted away from their usual daily timetable and routines.
  • Some fantastic artwork has been created.
  • Individuals have transformed their gardens and some have grown fruits and vegetables.
  • People have been supported to discuss any problems, issues, and how they are feeling throughout the pandemic – helping to reduce anxiety.
  • We have developed our own internal award scheme called the Personal Challenge Award.

Meet Christopher…

Here he is receiving his Bronze Gateway Award – ‘Physical Section’ certificate from a coach at Sales Sharks Rugby League Club for developing skills in fitness and rugby. This was prior to the pandemic but was part of the overall Gateway Award, which Christopher is still working towards.

Christopher accesses Autism Together’s CVS day services and we have supported him to achieve a variety of awards over the past few years. He discussed his experiences in taking part in these different award schemes during his time at Autism Together.

What do you think is good about the awards?

I enjoy trying something new and different, it helps me learn new things. Now I can go in the shop and purchase different things by myself. It’s given me a project to aim for.

Do you like doing the awards?

Yes, I enjoy gaining new skills and qualifications, it highlights what activities I do.

What awards have you achieved in the past?

The Gateway Award Bronze, National Navigations, HYA helmsman award, multiple ASDAN modules including in self-advocacy and currently working towards ASDAN in the Environment.

Have the awards helped you through the pandemic?

Some of the skills I have learnt in previous awards has helped me gain independence and communicate how I feel throughout the pandemic. I am looking forward to completing my next certificate. I also completed a big challenge hiking in Snowdonia using my navigation skills.

A huge congratulations to Christopher and to all those we support for their awards, particularly those gained during the difficulties and uncertainties of the pandemic – a fantastic achievement.