By Heart of England Mencap, Aug 14 2017 09:15AM
A remarkable contribution to a local charity – spanning almost four decades – has been recognised with a special award and honorary role.
Audrey Rose will retire as a Trustee of Heart of England Mencap next year – having held the position since the mid-1980s.
Back then the charity, previously known as Stratford & District Mencap, supported around 20 local people with learning disabilities. Today it supports around 200, right across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
Audrey’s daughter Janet was born with learning disabilities. When the family moved back to the UK in the early 80s, having lived all over the world, she was invited to join Stratford & District Mencap. She never left, joining the Board of Trustees and volunteering huge amounts of her time to help the charity as it grew and enabled the local learning disability community to access opportunities previously thought impossible.
“When my daughter was younger, despite having lived in France, she wasn’t allowed to take French lessons,” Audrey said.
“Things have changed enormously; people are now given an opportunity to develop their potential.
“There is still a way to go of course, particularly when it comes to people with learning disabilities being accepted in social situations. I would like to see that change. I also think the vulnerability of people with learning disabilities needs to be recognised more.”
In recognition of her extraordinary service, Audrey has been presented with a long-service award and will be made Honorary Vice-President when she retires in 2018.
Helena Wallis, Chief Executive of Heart of England Mencap, said: “Audrey’s outstanding contribution is one of the reasons why we wanted to recognise her work with us by making her a lifetime Vice-President.
“It is a reflection of the value of her contribution to the charity and to those that we support. The voice of families and carers is also significant in the work we do and Audrey has played an important role in representing carers in a range of formal and informal settings and being able to support other parents in a very complex and challenging world for those connected to someone with a learning disability.
“What is more outstanding is her capacity for understanding the needs of others and for caring. I know Audrey isn’t someone that openly promotes all these personal strengths, or does things for any type of accolade. Her involvement and commitment is a reflection of her remarkable passion and personal values. Whilst Audrey doesn’t see anything special in this - we absolutely do.”
When the charity began, it was very much focused on providing residential living for local people with learning disabilities. Over the years, its services have adapted and expanded considerably. Residential care is still provided, along with supported living, where customers can fulfil their wishes to be more independent, having their own flat, with access to communal areas and support workers when they need. Respite care is also provided, as well as complex needs day services. Pathway, the charity’s day activity service, offers a huge range of meaningful leisure and learning opportunities; from cooking to cycling.
With her new Honorary Vice-President role, Audrey will always be involved as the charity continues to respond to the needs of its customers.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.
Photo: Audrey Rose collecting her long-service award from Helena Wallis, Chief Executive, and Glen Von Malachowski, Chairman