WESC steals the show at Bash Awards!

The WESC Foundation group with their BASH Awards and certificates
The WESC Foundation group with their BASH Awards and certificates

WESC Foundation students and young people stole the show on Friday 23rd March 2018 at Devon’s BASH Awards (Be Active, Be Safe, Be Healthy) organised by Devon & Cornwall Police.

The BASH Awards is an annual event that aims to ensure everyone, no matter what their disability, has choices and a good quality of life, along with celebrating empowerment of people, promoting greater awareness of people’s rights and supporting effective and safe participation in communities.

Every year the BASH Awards has a huge number of nominations from people in Devon but this year WESC Foundation students and young people scooped the title as they impressed the judges so much by their enthusiasm, commitment to achievement and passion for helping others.

The first WESC student to win an award was 20-year-old Louis Britton under the category ‘Making Healthy Choices’ for his instrumental contribution in helping to set up WESC’s horticultural project.

Louis is not afraid to get stuck into hard work and get his hands dirty! He has specifically developed the woodland garden trail at WESC which involved clearing and preparing the land for planting and got involved in every stage of vegetable growing.

Louis winning his award with his proud mum Mrs Britton! Well done Louis!
Louis winning his award with his proud mum Mrs Britton! Well done Louis!

Being healthy is something that Louis feels passionate about. He eats healthy foods and makes healthy snack choices. His enthusiasm for sporting activities such as choosing to cycle on WESC’s adapted bikes is something that he does on a weekly basis – whatever the weather conditions!

Louis’s mum Mrs Britton said: “I’m so happy that Louis has won an award for all his achievements. He is a very special young man and we are so proud of him!”

Louis is a noble winner for a BASH award for his active lifestyle and commitment towards healthy living!

The next category was ‘Community Champion Volunteer’ and WESC students and young people were shortlisted in the top three out of many other nominees. Ian Morrison, Craig Salisbury and Maria Dowswell were competing against each other to steal the title, all very credible and worthy of the trophy, but unfortunately there could only be one winner and Ian Morrison scooped the prize.

Ian first started volunteering in the WESC charity shop eight years ago. At first Ian was unable to undertake even the simplest of tasks without supervision and did not have independent mobility as it was considered to be unsafe for him to use public transport unsupervised.

Ian and his parents celebrating after receiving his award!
Ian and his parents celebrating after receiving his award!

Due to the support WESC gave Ian throughout this time he exceeded everyone’s expectations with regards to his ability. He no longer requires a support worker to assist him with his duties, he helps in all areas of the shop and his independence, confidence and social skills have improved to the point where he now travels to and from work unaided on public transport.

A regular customer at WESC’s charity shop where Ian works has left a legacy of £30k to WESC due to seeing the direct change and progress in Ian. Ian is well-deserving of a BASH Award and his parents were thrilled to find out their son has been awarded for all his hard work. Well done!

Ian’s parents Mr & Mrs Morrison said: “It’s just marvellous that Ian has won this award. WESC has done so much for him and we couldn’t be prouder!”

Craig Salisbury and Maria Dowswell both received a framed certificate for being shortlisted in this same category. Craig for pushing the boundaries of his capabilities and excelling himself whilst volunteering for Café 55 in Exeter, and Maria for securing a paid position in WESC’s charity shop and helping to positively impact the lives of others. Maria is an excellent mentor and role model for other trainees in the shop proving to others that it doesn’t matter if you have a disability you can still find meaningful work and make a difference to society.

Craig getting his certificate for being shortlisted with WESC CEO Jane Bell!
Craig getting his certificate for being shortlisted with WESC CEO Jane Bell!

And that wasn’t it! Devon & Cornwall Police were so impressed by WESC’s other nomination Stuart Young that they decided to create a new award category just for him! The category was ‘Community Champion Special Award’ and Stuart was the remarkable winner.

Stuart constantly challenges himself to help others. He has raised a considerable amount of money for a number of superb charities by doing what most people would never attempt including: a 15,000 feet tandem skydive, abseiling, underwater tunnel challenge, Commando endurance challenge where he negotiated a 15km course and most recently a 70km trek to Everest Base Camp! All to help people less fortune than himself.

Stuart has been blind since birth and nothing stops him achieving his goals. He is an inspiration to everyone and an excellent role model for the young people at WESC Foundation. Well done Stuart!

Jane Bell WESC’s CEO said: “I am over the moon that our students and young people gained so much recognition at these awards. This is the first year that WESC Foundation has nominated people for the BASH Awards and what a way to make an entrance!

Stuart with his Special Award for Community Champion!
Stuart with his Special Award for Community Champion!

“Attending events like this is so important for our young people to boost their confidence and to also challenge people’s misconceptions of what someone with a visual impairment can and can’t do. Employers and society need to recognise that young people with a disability can make a valuable contribution to their industry and Louis, Ian, Craig, Maria and Stuart are excellent examples of this.

“I am tremendously proud of our three winners and two runners up – they are all truly inspirational people. It meant the world to them and their families to get this recognition.  Well done from everyone at WESC Foundation.”   

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