Thursday, 23 May 2024
Thursday, 23 May 2024

Disabled people celebrated at national charity’s 20th annual awards

THE incredible achievements of people living with complex disabilities were put centre-stage at the Sense Awards 2023, as the charity crowned 13 winners in a virtual ceremony hosted by Samantha Renke.

The Sense Awards, which has been running for 20 years, recognises children and adults with complex disabilities and those who support them through a range of awards. These include categories for volunteering, fundraising, caring, influencing, campaigning and partnership working. 

Sense, the national charity that supports people with complex disabilities, received hundreds of nominations for its awards this year. It was down to a team of disabled celebrities, influencers and disability activists to review the nominations and pick the winning and shortlisted entries. These judges include singer-songwriter Alice Ella, chef and TV presenter Briony May Williams, Paralympian Siobhan Fitzpatrick, children’s author Dan White, and disabled influencer Lauren Gilbert. 

The winners were announced online on 23 November 2023, in a virtual ceremony hosted by Samantha Renke. The broadcaster, who was born with Brittle Bone Condition, is a prominent advocate on disability issues. She writes for publications including the Metro on topics like body image, ableism and the financial and social impact of being disabled.

Samantha Renke said:

“I’m delighted to host the 20th annual Sense Awards ceremony. In recent years, as I’ve become more involved as a disability rights campaigner, I’ve come to fully understand and feel so much pride in my disability identity. The Sense Awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the achievements of disabled people and continue to raise our voices.” 

The ceremony was filmed and edited by video agency Mile91 and includes voiceovers from a range of staff at the charity including disabled staff; a message from Sense and Sense International chief executive Richard Kramer; and emotive case study films showcasing the impact of the charity’s services.

The full list of winners and shortlisted entries can be found on the Sense website. Highlights include the Celebrity of the Year Award, which was taken home by BAFTA-winning actor Lenny Rush, who recently presented Children in Need and will be starring in Doctor Who in the upcoming fourteenth series of the TV show. Lenny, 14, said he was ‘thankful and honoured’ to win.  

Other winners include Channel 4 correspondent Ruben Reuter, who picked up the Journalism of the Year trophy, and content creator and disability activist Jeffie Smith, who took home the Influencer of the Year award. 

Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of Sense and judge for the Sense Awards, said: 

Celebrating the achievements of children and adults with complex disabilities at our annual awards ceremony is always one of the highlights of my year. This is our 20th year of the Sense Awards, and I’m blown away by the incredible people and organisations taking home awards this year. A huge well done to everyone shortlisted and to all our winners.”  

You can find out more about the Sense Awards on the charity’s website: www.sense.org.uk/sense-awards.

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