Henfield woman’s surprise at MBE after supporting thousands of families with disabled children

A Henfield woman who has supported thousands of families with disabled children has been awarded an MBE.

Lizzie Batten MBE disability living allowance project manager at Amaze said she was ‘completely surprised’ when she received a phone call a couple of weeks ago to let her know about the honour.

She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to young people with disabilities and vulnerable families.

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The 61-year-old added: “It’s not something you ever expect. You’re just doing your job.”

Lizzie Batten MBE. Photo: James Pike Photography

Lizzie, a parent carer for 33-year-old daughter Charlotte, helped set up the Parent Link Project support group and was instrumental in persuading the local council that parent carers needed impartial information, advice and support.

She helped set up Amaze, an award-winning charity that now supports over 3,000 local families with disabled children.

Lizzie said: “It’s a real privilege to have had a job where you know you’re making a difference.

“I have the privilege of working with really fantastic young people and amazing parents who are just so hardworking and so resilient.”

Lizzie worked for Amaze over the last twenty years in various roles. She produced the first newsletter for families and organised courses and events. She identified that transition to adulthood was a difficult time for many and Amaze held a conference on the subject and wrote a handbook aimed at families.

Lizzie also established and sought funding for the DLA Project, a unique service model supporting Brighton’s most vulnerable families to access the right disability benefits.

In this service, she, or one of her volunteers, visits a family, often in their own home and takes the time to listen to them describe their child with additional needs. Her service generates significant financial benefit to the families supported, increasing an annual household income by approximately £8-12k.

Her work brings in an estimated £3m every year in DLA and passported benefits to the 300+ families she supports each year.

Lizzie added: “When Charlotte was young I just realised that I was completely out of my depth.

“I didn’t know what she was entitled to. I didn’t know what questions to ask.”

This inspired Lizzie to help other families in similar situations to help them access the support they were entitled to.