Brighton mental health worker takes centre stage at national awards

On Tuesday, 14th November, Brighton-based mental health worker, Alice Brookes, was awarded the winner of the prestigious British Association of Supported Employment (BASE)'s David Grainger Award at an awards ceremony in Leicester.
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Alice, a former client of Southdown's Employment Support, co-teaches the Autism and Employment course (which she also co-developed) at the Sussex not-for-profit support provider's Brighton & Hove Recovery College.

The BASE Awards highlight best practice taking place across the UK using supported employment to change and enrich the lives of disabled, neurodivergent and disadvantaged people through good employment.

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The David Grainger Award is presented to a disabled person who inspires other people to have high aspirations in employment, who has changed perceptions around what disabled people can achieve or progressed in their chosen career.

Alice Brookes, Peer Tutor at SouthdownAlice Brookes, Peer Tutor at Southdown
Alice Brookes, Peer Tutor at Southdown

As part of her award submission, Alice produced a video, within which she shared, “I am inspired by other people every day. I'm inspired by the experiences that our learners share in the classroom, and I love to use people's feedback to make my courses better and to have a better understanding of autism.

"I'm so different to the person that I was a year and a half ago. I had no idea what I was doing, had no direction and I didn't really have any aspirations. But here today, I have big plans and I want to keep helping people and keep advocating for the people whom society often pushes to the margins.

"I want everybody to have a voice because we all deserve to be heard. "My path to where I am today has been rocky. There were times where I really thought that I was never going to do anything worthwhile with my life. That experience is what has made me good at my job now though because I'm able to say to my students that I've been where you are. I know what it feels like to feel useless and scared, especially when we're talking about going into the workforce as a disabled person. I could have done with a helping hand so I want to be that helping hand for all the people that come to any of my courses.”

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Neil Blanchard, Southdown's Chief Executive, says, “Huge congratulations to Alice for winning the David Grainger Award. For me, this is the most prestigious award of the BASE ceremony as it is about how an individual has inspired others to have high aspirations in employment. This award stands as a brilliant testament to what Alice has achieved, so far!” www.southdown.orgTo watch Alice’s award submission video, click here:

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