28th January 2019 • Emma Cooper

Today we reveal the longlist for Bloody Awesome Parent of the Year.

This category – new for 2019 – is to honour those who don’t blog but deserve recognition for what they are doing or have done.

Best non blogger of the yearThis could be setting up a a club or support group, changing things in their local community or simply helping others.  Here they are, and here’s what you said about them…

Celia Webster – Celia has such a big heart. She set up challenge group and has a team of volunteers that support her and the parents that attend. This group was a lifeline for me, I’ve made friends for life and I know this loving group is a lifeline for so many.

Emma Bashford – Emma set up Special Families East Grinstead a few years ago. It now has several hundred members. It is such a supportive group, Emma runs it with such passion and compassion and love and care.

Alison Millington – When you discover your child has complex needs what do you do?Hibernate? Give up? Alison instead decided to fill a need in the local community and started a charity to provide support for other people in the same position. Ruby’s play centre in Congleton is just awesome, a home from home for us and many other SEND parents.

Emma Spagnola – Emma’s such a determined lady with a mission to make the beautiful county of Norfolk the most accessible it can be! She has arranged for Mobiloo to be at numerous events and has been speaking to businesses and tourist venues across the county to install changing places toilets and improve access for all!

Joanne Duncan Cooke – Joanne is a very busy lady with a big family. She is totally committed and dedicated to all her family but more so her daughter who has very complex medical needs. She is an absolute inspiration.

Jeremy (Bethany’s Dad) – Jeremy has stood up for his daughter and told the truth via social media, an incredibly brave and difficult thing to do, especially when at a desperate point. He has continued to raise awareness of PDA and of others in similar situations rather than only focusing on his own family.

Lesley Chance and Francine Swaby – They set up a company called Families in Focus where they find funding to deliver courses and support groups for parents. I can honestly say they rescued our family singlehandedly by offering warm, supportive and knowledgeable guidance that we so badly needed throughout our journey.

Hilary Harvey – I am nominating Hilary for the amazing support group she has set up for parents (she currently looks after over 100 families in the South Bucks PDA Support Group and the numbers are steadily growing). She may never know the impact she has made at keeping many families together and I hope one day she receives an award for all that she does.

Charlotte Clarkson – Super mum Charlotte Clarkson is not only a busy mum to 3, she also runs the Boston Down syndrome support group. Charlotte does this voluntarily and her heart sits in the middle of it all.  A shoulder to cry on and and company to laugh with, she so deserves acknowledgement!!!!

Poppy Rose – Mum to a SEND child, Poppy Rose campaigns endlessly for children with send. She supports parents across the country through her Facebook group, she has organised a national March and speaks on behalf of thousands of parents at events and meeting. She is always ready to lend an ear and advise where she can.

Jennifer Peters – Jennifer is not only a loving, nurturing, dedicated and passionate mother of two but also invests a lot of her time and energy into the wonderful Me Too & Co Charity in Richmond where she is the Chair and helps to support a large number of families who have children with needs.

Paula McGowan – Paula has campaigned tirelessly to get mandatory training for healthcare professionals on autism and learning difficulties since her sons Oliver’s death. She deserves recognition for her bravery and determination to help stop this happening to others. She has made a huge impact and made real change happen.

Isabelle Garnett – Isabelle is the most amazing lady and mum. She is always so supporting of others and her campaigning is incredible. Isabelle doesn’t want to be in the spotlight and just quietly gets on with what she is passionate about and supporting others. She is one bloody awesome parent and lady.

Sarah Collins Sarah is a director of the St Georges Neonatal Unit Charity, First Touch and mum to NNU graduate, Izzy who has CP, epilepsy, learning disabilities and autism. An unsung hero who goes above and beyond to support the charity as well as disability causes within the area, it’s time she got some recognition for how much she does to support disability and prematurity within South West London.

Alison Telfer – Alison looks after her Autistic son. She does lots of work with the grantham disabled children group organising outings, events, to enrich the children’s lives. She has got through so much and fought so hard to get everything she can for her son. She also does this whilst suffering from ME and Fibromyalgia so is often exhausted. She is one hell of a parent 😄

Sally Percival – Sally is a parent and carer of a young man with autism but instead of cracking under the pressure of being a single mum and bring up an autistic child, she started a support group which runs twice a month, she runs a 24/7 phone line and is an advocate for lots of people ensuring that they have the life they want to lead.

Claire Dainty – Claire is full time single mum to 10 (almost 11) year old Samuel, who is severely autistic. As if making sure that Sam has and gets everything he needs to develop and learn as much as he possibly can isn’t enough, she is also a trustee for a local charity Give Us A Break in Wolverhampton.

Rhiannon Walton – This lady is the chair of Bury2gether parent carer forum, which works with parents and the local authority to help shape services. She dedicates her whole life to this whilst being a wife and parent to 3 gorgeous children, 2 of which have Autism. Her passion shines out so brightly, and her positivity and enthusiasm drives the rest of the forum.

We’d love to see you at the awards ceremony. Not only is it a fun night of celebration you’ll also get a fab 3 course meal, and there’s dancing! Book your ticket here. And don’t forget the finalists will be announced when the final vote opens on the 18th February.