Sheffield resident Karen Thistlethwaite has been commended for her outstanding commitment working with disabled members of her community. It is this selfless responsibility that has landed the local hero one of the country’s highest accolades – a British Citizen Award (BCA).
Launched in January 2015, the BCA, in partnership with InMoment, recognises extraordinary achievements by everyday people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.
The dedicated mother is credited with being the saviour of Sheffield City Knights, a social project providing care and support for people with disabilities. She received her BCA Medal from Irwin Mitchell’s Alison Eddy at the Palace of Westminster on 7th July.
Following the untimely death of the Sheffield City Knights founder in 2011, Karen took on the responsibility of running the program and continuing the group’s invaluable efforts in helping the disabled. Karen, whose son Daniel is a member of the organization, has been able to grow the group and help more people in need of support through her commitment and devotion.
The organisation has over 30 members aged between 21 and 75 and is now a registered charity that runs three days a week.
Talking about her award, Karen said: ‘I was thrilled when they told me I was being awarded a BCA for something that has given me so much joy over the years. Having a son with learning disabilities encouraged me to take over the group he’s involved with when the former leader tragically died. I am so thankful for being honoured with such a prestigious award because this doesn’t just reflect my work but that of everyone who is involved with this organization.’
For the past 16 years Karen has also been jointly running the North Sheffield Carers Group, which is a group of carers and former carers who come together to support one another.
The main focus of North Sheffield Carers Group is to provide support and encouragement for people who have been taking care of family members by bringing them together and giving them the opportunity to share their experiences and feelings.
‘It’s my passion to help the members become more independent and confident. I want to give them things to look forward to as well as teaching valuable life lessons and skills. Working so closely with such a vulnerable community and being able to provide them with activities that make them happy is what’s most important,’ Karen added.
The BCA is in partnership with customer experience management company, InMoment and proud to be supported by the world’s largest optical retailer and audiologists, Specsavers; one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, Places for People; leading ethical law firm Irwin Mitchell; palletised freight company, Pall-Ex; and creative communications group, Beattie.
October 2016 will also see the introduction of the British Citizen Youth Award, recognising young people under the age of 16 who have positively impacted communities or particular groups and have contributed through their own endeavours to making a difference. Nominations can be made now until September 16th 2016.
To find out more about the BCA or British Citizen Youth Awards, and to nominate someone for the next awards in January 2017, please visit britishcitizenawards.co.uk
"I am so thankful for being honoured with such a prestigious award because this doesnt just reflect my work but that of everyone who is involved with this organization"
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