WAS IT a bird? Was it a plane? No – it was a whole army of ‘superheroes’ flying into Stratford at the weekend for Heart of England Mencap’s annual awards.

The event – held at Stratford-upon-Avon School on September 24th – was given a superhero theme this year, with everyone coming together in fancy dress to celebrate the outstanding achievements of both staff and customers.

Everyone from The Hulk to Superman watched the awards presentations, followed by a chance to dance the night away enjoying a buffet and disco – the discs being spun by Mencap customer, DJ Will Morris.

Awards categories included Carer of the Year – won by Fiona Pratt, who was nominated by parents for giving 100% in genuine care.

Team of the Year went to Malvern, a passionate and creative team who have set up a brand new service from scratch and Ash Grove, who were nominated by parents and carers for their dedication.

Most Successful Newcomer was jointly awarded to media and marketing officer Di Yeoman, who acts as a voice for the organisation and Christine Aynsley for her passion and commitment.

Everyone nominated for ‘Going the Extra Mile’ received an award – the calibre of nominations being so high – but two candidates particularly stood out. They were David McDonnellfor consistently putting his customers first, especially when they need him most in times of crisis and Karen Rousell, Chair of the Friends of Heart of England Mencap – recognised for the huge amount of time she invests in raising valuable funds for the charity – and for her boundless energy and enthusiasm.

Special thanks was given to the whole Friends of Heart of England Mencap team – and to everyone involved in this year’s Lions Charity Raft Race – with HofE Mencap the main beneficiary for 2016.

Last but certainly not least, customers were handed awards in recognition of their special achievements too. Among them were Daniel Joyce – for increasing his independence, Glenn Marryfield, who has completed 13 years at college, Ruth Daniels, for securing a new job, Nick Blinkhorne, for his time and efforts on the Mencap allotments and Janet Peel, for her new-found cooking skills.

“It was a really special evening of celebration and fun,” said Hayley Hemmings, Head of Operations for Heart of England Mencap.

“Our staff and volunteers are real life superheroes to us – and it is so important to thank them for their hard work and dedication. Without them we would not be able to make the difference we make. Our vision is to create a community where difference is embraced, independence is encouraged and every individual is valued for who they are, and we could never achieve that without our wonderful team.”

Heart of England Mencap provides wide range of services across Warwickshire and Worcestershire supporting those with learning disabilities.

These services include supported living, residential care, outreach care, short breaks and respite and a range of day activities.

For more information on working for Heart of England Mencap call 01789 298709 or email support@heartofenglandmencap.org.uk