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SEND Education Trailblazers Nominated for National Diversity Awards

Emma Mander
Emma Mander

Stockport based Great Minds Together, who deliver wraparound services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability(SEND), have been nominated for honours at the National Diversity Awards 2020, which will be held on 17th September at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

Great Minds Together is shortlisted alongside seven other organisations in the category for Community Organisation Award for Multi-Strand.

Headed up by co-founders Emma Mander and Meg Walls, the duo lead a team of specialists and volunteers to deliver wraparound support and co-ordination of services, as well as mentoring, training for professionals, interventions, and mediation with schools and services for the families that are the most in need across our country.

Over the past year the need for support has grown as young people and families suffered the impact of school closures and lockdown. The team now work with 43 local authorities across the country to advocate for those in need of support, from providing laptops for home learning to supporting the most complex cases to achieve the best outcomes for the children at the heart of it.

Great Minds Together has also transformed the lives for many families of Autistic people with its Autism Peer Education Programme that they deliver for NHS – Health Education England.

Launched in January 2021 the programme is the first of its kind, and its multifaceted approach is centred around treating the family as the workforce and aims to bring support to those who truly need it.

The model was described by Dr Ashok Roy OBE -Clinical Advisor HEE, Learning Disabilities and Autism and Consultant Psychiatrist as offering a model that can ‘positively impact on the quality of life, not only of the autistic person but also on their families and carers.’

Commenting on their nomination director and co-founder Emma Mander said: “To be nominated in the National Diversity Awards is such a huge honour. We are very proud of everything our team has achieved over the past 18 months and we are looking forward to the event as it will be the first time we will have been able to all get together in such a long time. We will continue to work with local authorities and the NHS to ensure the right support is in place and there is a creative thinking approach to the needs of our children.”

The awards ceremony will take place on Friday 17th September at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. The red-carpet event will welcome nominees and celebrities who will celebrate the achievements of organisations and community heroes paving the way for equality, diversity and inclusion.

Originally scheduled to take place last year, the awards were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.