Mandy Ford, a Session Leader within Guild Care’s Growing Older with Learning Disabilities group, GOLD has become a finalist in the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2019.

She was nominated by senior staff for the Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities Award category, who recognised her instrumental role in the successful development of GOLD and the special relationships she has formed with service users, including one who refers to Mandy as her ‘friend’.

GOLD is for people over 50 with a learning disability and provides them with a safe, peaceful yet stimulating environment for adults who need support with their changing needs as they age.

This is a needs-led service, providing a range of person centred individual and group activities including exercise, singing, music, cooking, coffee bar, quizzes, entertainment, therapies, arts and crafts.

Lisa Matthew, Guild Care’s Head of Organisational Development described Mandy as an outstanding, passionate and committed staff member.

She said, “She has a real affection and connection with the people who attend the GOLD service, she treats them with dignity and respect. Mandy has an excellent ability to recognise triggers for individual service users, before they affect their experience. She demonstrates excellent person-centred support. Due to the success of the GOLD group we are now providing an extra day of this service which is already fully booked. Her hard work helps approximately 25 people per session to live their lives to the full, promoting their independence.”

Mandy with GOLD service user, Christine.

In addition to GOLD, Mandy also works within Guild Care’s Ashdown Centre which provides respite services for families of children and young adults with learning disabilities and additional needs.

Mandy said, “I feel very honoured to have been nominated for this national award although it still doesn’t feel real. I’m hoping it raises awareness for GOLD and Ashdown, the two services that I feel very passionate about.”

Mandy will meet with the judging panel in a few weeks before the winners are announced at a gala dinner in Birmingham for finalists in June.