Recognising the outstanding achievements of people living with complex disabilities, as well as the staff, carers, family members, volunteers and fundraisers that support them.

Who’s your Sense superstar? The Sense Awards recognise people's fantastic achievements in one of our 16 award categories.

The Sense Awards are back for the 16th year, and are sure to be bigger and better than ever. This year’s award ceremony will be held at our innovative multi-purpose community centre Sense TouchBase Pears, Birmingham, on Thursday 19 September.

Our media partner this year is Able Magazine who have kindly given us 25 subscriptions to give away. Individuals who have submitted nominations will be entered into the prize draw. 

Nominations for the 2019 Sense Awards have now closed. The shortlist will be announced soon.

This year’s categories

There are 16 categories, including some brand new ones, so have a look below. 

Person of the Year

Do you know a person who is deafblind, has sensory impairments and/or has complex needs, who is excelling in a particular area? Have they overcome a great challenge, shown incredible passion or been exceptionally creative? Perhaps they have been successful in campaigning, fundraising, awareness-raising or volunteering?

Young Person of the Year

Do you know a person who is deafblind, has sensory impairments and/or complex needs under the age of 25 who has been particularly creative, overcome adversity with courage, or made a positive impact in their community? Perhaps they’ve learned a new skill and used this to help themselves in their everyday life or to help others?

Sibling of the Year 

Do you know someone who’s supported their sibling to do something amazing? Have they created social or learning opportunities for their brother or sister? Do you know a child who’s taken on extra responsibilities? Perhaps they have shown exceptional compassion or understanding for their age? 

Carer of the Year

Do you know a person or family member with caring responsibilities who is remarkable? Have they supported you, or someone you know, to do something new or exciting? 

Volunteer of the Year

Has a Sense volunteer that you know shown great dedication and support? Have they developed new skills, shown commitment and exceeded expectations resulting in a positive impact on those they support? 

Campaigner of the Year

Together, we campaign for the rights of people living with complex disabilities to take part in life. Do you know someone who has championed the rights of people living with complex disabilities, at a local and national level? From tackling loneliness of disabled people in the community to engaging with MPs about social care, we’d love to hear about disability campaigners. 

Collaboration of the Year

Amazing things can happen when two organisations and teams come together with a shared vision in mind. Do you know an organisation or team that collaborated with someone to create something special for people with complex disabilities? 

Individual Fundraiser of the Year

Sense’s work wouldn’t be possible without the support of our fundraisers. Do you know someone who’s dedicated their time to fundraise for Sense? Has someone created an exciting event to engage people?

Team Fundraiser of the Year

The support of our fundraisers is vital and team fundraising is always good fun! Perhaps you know a team that have raised an impressive amount of money for Sense and gone out of their way to support our cause? 

Parliamentarian of the Year

This award is a closed category and recognises the work of a parliamentarian in promoting positive change for disabled people.

Media of the Year 

This award is a closed category and recognised the work of a journalist, media outlet or programme in promoting positive change for disabled people.

Innovation of the Year 

Do you know someone who has come up with a new idea, device, method or creative thoughts that supports people with complex disabilities? From finding creative new ways to connect people to supporting new ways of communication, we’d love to hear about any new innovations from across sectors. 

Outstanding contribution to International Development

This award recognises outstanding achievements of staff and partners of Sense International. We’d love to hear about strategic and inspiring work that has raised awareness of deafblindness, brought new quality services to people with deafblindness and their families, initiatives that take innovative approaches to improve the lives of people with deafblindness or wins that have changed the national government’s approach. We are also keen to celebrate ‘unsung heroes’ making an exceptional contribution to work on deafblindness.

Diane Cardwell Award for Professional Excellence 

Do you know someone who works at Sense that has gone above and beyond their role to achieve excellence? Has a person, team or project made a positive impact on the lives of people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments and/or complex needs? 

This award is named after Diane Cardwell, who was a Sense support worker and children’s intervenor who won the Award for Professional Excellence in 2013. She sadly passed away in 2018 and we decided to name this award in her honour.


Peggy Freeman Award for Exceptional Contribution

Each year someone at Sense will be honoured with accolade of the Peggy Freeman Exceptional Contribution Award. This is a closed award category. 

This award is named after Peggy Freeman, one of the parents who co-founded the National Deafblind and Rubella Association in 1955 (the organisation which later became Sense).



Quality Board Award

This award is a closed category and the winner is chosen by the Independent Sense Quality Board. The panel look for a Sense service which has shown exemplary evidence of good practice and innovation throughout the year.