Sense Awards 2015

The Sense Awards celebrate the achievements of deafblind people and those that support them.

Winners and presenters of the Sense Awards 2015

The 2015 Sense Awards took place on Monday 7 December at King's Place in London.  TV presenters Wendy Turner Webster and Julie Peasgood hosted the ceremony in front of over 80 guests.

Head over to our Sense Awards 2015 - live! page to see tweets and photos from the event as it happened.

Congratulations to all of this year's winners and runners up!


Excellence award

Barry Spicer
For enthusiastic dedication to improving a Sense service as registered manager.

The runners up...

TouchBase South East
For continuing their good work and still finding opportunities to celebrate, during a testing period of refurbishment.

Hampton Resource Centre
For delivering outstanding services to the deafblind people they support, and for supporting a number of work experience opportunities.

Adam Richardson and Sheryl Herdson
For developing the booklet “Good to Outstanding” to support managers of Sense services to work towards an “Outstanding” CQC rating.


Growth award

Debby Bayliss
For ensuring high quality tender and framework submissions every time, to allow for the development of service, facilities and support.

The runners up...

The Trading Team
For their improvement on donations and sales that show they are performing 8-12% points higher than the rest of the charity sector.


Volunteering award

Kerry Whitney
Kerry set herself the challenge of running 15 marathons in 15 months and has completed 12 marathons to date, including London, Berlin and Barcelona, and raised over £4,000.

Kerry, who works at Ickburgh School in Hackney, London, says that she made the decision to fundraise for Sense, after witnessing the work the charity do to support and campaign for people with dual sensory loss. She says that originally she never set out to run 15 marathons – “the idea just evolved after her first few marathons!”  Kerry has two marathons to complete, and so far her endeavour has seen her complete one marathon blindfolded and another dressed as Orville the Duck.

The runners up...

Keith Lambert
For his unconditional commitment of over 12 years as a volunteer with Sense; from volunteering in our shops, fundraising and raising awareness of Sense and charitable giving.

Alick Tibbatts
For his continued volunteering at Sense Cymru including his success in securing premises for the new TouchBase Cymru as well as other useful contacts for the new development.

Farrah Alzahra
For being a brilliant volunteer on three Sense holidays over the summer; contributing 384 hours of her time to the programme.


Sense Person of the Year award

Ian Capon
A passionate disability campaigner was named 'Person of the Year' for his commitment to support people, who like him, have sensory impairments.  53-year-old Ian has set up the Isle of Wight Forum for islanders with sight and hearing difficulties and their families to get together, share experiences and find out about support available in the local area. He’s also a devoted campaigner for disability rights and a fervent fundraiser.

The runners up...

Eric Griffiths
For fundraising for charities for 30 years as a deafblind individual, raising over £250,000.

Colin Hetherington
For setting up a social group called The Northern Alliance, for people with Usher Syndrome and other visual impairments.


Sense Young Person of the Year award

Bethany Fanthom
For overcoming various obstacles in the education system, and for speaking out to make a contribution to Sense’s campaigning and her own future.

The runners up...

Grace Shipton
For her resilience, and continued participation at school, as well as fantastic efforts to develop her communication amongst her peers.

Emma Blackmore
For her blossoming confidence, and subsequent volunteering and work with Sense, that extends to her still fundraising and volunteering at the Woodside Centre with us today.

Ellen Watson
For her persistence in pursuing an education, and for raising awareness and funds for Sense and the deafblind community.


Carer of the Year award

Beryl Armitage
For adopting deafblind children from across the country and campaigning for their rights and sharing her experiences with professionals.

The runner up...

David McLennan
For encouraging the hobbies of the person he supports, and using new communication methods to ensure she is engaged.


Change Maker award

Donna Corrigan
For increasing the independence and enjoyment of many people Sense supports by introducing technology to support communication, access to information, mobility and new ways of participating in society.  

The runner up...

Sue Brown and the Public Policy Team
For the campaigning work that has changed the lives of deafblind people; making life more secure through changes to the Care Act, and for always encouraging deafblind people’s involvement in campaigning.


Art Partnership award

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance
Celebrated choreographer Wayne McGregor CBE and his company Random Dance  won the award for their collaboration with Sense as part of the charity’s Arts & Wellbeing programme. During a week-long workshop, company dancers, deafblind people and their care staff created a framework that allowed participants to explore their creative and physical potential. Building a common language through touch, the dancers and participants tried out various exercises and games and came up with movement phrases unique to each participant’s communication and mobility needs.

The runners up...

Islington Museum
For being the superb hosts of Sense’s three month art and textiles project at the museum, and for offering in kind support and access to their archives.

AMX by Harman
For their work as a strategic partner of Sense, raising £20,000 which was used to pay for a refurbished music room at TouchBase South East.


Creativity award

Alex McEwan
Alex won the award for her committed contribution to the charity's Arts and Wellbeing programme. She has been instrumental in designing and delivering craft and textiles workshops for groups of older people across London, with each group creating their own quilt which is publically exhibited.

The runners up...

Samantha Poxon
In her support worker role taking a personal approach when working with deafblind people, and thinking of innovative ideas to support them, and fundraise for Sense.

GOT 2 ACT Group
For their achievement in creating a supportive environment for those to participate in the performing arts and taking their performances around the world.


Powerful Partnership award

Northern Trust
For being Sense’s most powerful corporate partnership in 2015; enabled by their fundraising at the Badminton Horse Trials and at their 125th Anniversary, raising over £27,000 for Sense to date.

The runners up...

Seashell Trust
For strengthening the pre-existing relationship between Sense and Seashell Trust by running a successful conference for professionals in the health, social care and education sector to improve their practice.

Whitefields School and Centre and Linden Lodge School
For working alongside Sense to run two successful consultation events designed to better understand the aspirations, interests and needs of young people as they move into adulthood.


Good Service award

Gloucester Ski and Snowboard
The 'Good Service' award recognises organisations that have been innovative in their work to accommodate people with sensory impairments and other complex needs.  For years Gloucester Ski and Snowboard centre have offered sessions to Sense, providing people with complex disabilities the opportunity to experience activities they’ve never done before like snow tubing. It has been noted how exceptionally helpful the staff are, and how hard they work to ensure that all holidaymakers, regardless of disability, have the opportunity to participate and enjoy snow tubing.

The runner up...

Jewish Care
For working with Sense to deliver 10 dual sensory loss awareness training sessions to over 100 management level staff from across the organisations.


Quality award

Hampton Resource Centre
For encouraging innovative communication for their students; for supporting work experience opportunities and for celebrating individual achievements.

The runner up..

Manor House
For engaging with technology to increase the independence of the residents; and for ensuring that every day achievements are celebrated by staff and individuals alike.


Exceptional Contribution

Sue Turner

For the exceptional contribution she has made to Sense, Sense International, and to deafblind people.

Sue Turner has worked alongside Sense for over 30 years – she has sat on boards, campaigned, organised events, supported families, fundraised, visited services, and shared her story – her work unwaveringly routed in the belief that people who are deafblind should lead full and active lives. 

Sue was a founding member of the Sense Kent Branch – a support group for families, which she set up alongside other parents, in 1997. Still a much valued support network today. Sue chaired the branch until 2013 when she moved from the area. She led the branch with the energy and commitment which are so characteristic of her. Resolute in her belief that families are stronger together, Sue always went out her way to welcome and involve new families – enabling those who would otherwise be isolated to meet others. The branch has been a pillar of strength for the families involved; over the years they have campaigned together, lobbied The Government and local MPs, meet regularly, run activity days, and been a source of advice and support. 

Partly through the branch and partly through charisma and drive Sue has built local links; resulting in positive and significant impact in regards to the services people who are deafblind in Kent and Essex now receive. This included sitting on a Kent County Council panel in order to write a county-wide strategy for deafblind people. 

Sue has been an active campaigner for many years; lobbying for improvements that will benefit her sons, deafblind people and families nationally. In recent years, Sue has been involved with Sense’s work on the Care Act, directly influencing the Law Commission, the Care And Support Alliance lobby of Parliament, and the Care Bill team from the Department of Health. She has been influential in Sense’s work on welfare reform, including facilitating one of her son’s participation in the pilot of the Personal Independence Payment assessment (2011) and taking part in the Hardest Hit march (2011). She never shy’s from speaking to the media, meaning the influence of her work reaches many.  

Sue has been a Trustee of Sense since 1993, and Sense International since 2003. Her insight and sympathetic approach have influenced Sense and Sense International’s strategies here in the UK and in the various countries where they have a presence. Her presence ensuring the voice of parents remains at the heart of decision-making in the organisation. 

Sue has also been involved in ensuring that Sense’s services are of a consistent high standard and currently is a parent member of Sense’s Quality Board.

Richard Kramer, Deputy CEO, says

“Sue is never afraid to air her views or make suggestions, and ruffle feathers if they need ruffling!  She speaks with authority and commands huge respect from the Board. We are very lucky to have her support.”

You can view the highlights of the day on the Sense Awards 2015 live! page and view photos of the winners and their awards on Flickr.

First published: Monday 14 May 2012
Updated: Wednesday 1 June 2016