KAREN THISTLETHWAITE, BCAv
Karen’s son Daniel has learning difficulties and is a member of a group in Sheffield called Sheffield City Knights. The group provides a range of activities for young adults with a variety of disabilities. In 2011 the Sheffield City Knights Group Leader sadly died very suddenly and unexpectedly leaving this group of vulnerable people distraught, and uncertain of its future. Karen could only think of helping the members through this difficult time and took on the running of the group herself. The group has since gone from strength-to-strength. Karen has overseen the application for the group to become a registered Charity and it now runs three days a week offering an invaluable resource not only to group members but their parents and carers. There are now over 30 members of the group ranging in age from 21 to 75.
Karen has given the members a purpose and made their lives richer by organising outings and events. Whilst enjoying themselves they are also learning valuable lifeskills thanks to Karen’s guidance. With Karen driving the group, the members have become more confident and independent. Karen has also jointly run the North Sheffield Carers Group for the past 16 years, a group of carers and former carers who come together to support one another. This support network is often a lifeline for carers who become consumed in support of family members, having very few outlets and fewer opportunities to talk with like-minded individuals.
Nominated by: Alice Grant