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First-ever ‘People We Support Awards’ a success


Outstanding achievements were recognised at the Our Voice Conference on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th September.

On Saturday, after various presentations, including an overview the ‘Down Memory Lane’ initiative, which brought old and young together, it was time to party.

The next day was one of celebrating achievements with a number of people we support receiving their ASDAN certificates.

Our first-ever People We Support Awards were next. With 12 categories there was a lot to recognise and applaud. Well done to all the winners listed below.

Woman smiling and holding microphone up to a man in bow tie who is also smiling.
Members of Our Voice hosted the Awards.

Sports Achievement:

Conor, Adult Service, TouchBase Ayrshire

Community Award:

One Giant Leap Lanarkshire – Down Memory Lane Event

Creative Group Award:

One Giant Leap Glasgow – Monday Group’s Scarecrow Project

Sense Scotland Champion:

Alison, Coatbridge Housing Support Services

Fundraiser of the Year Award:

Sacha, Adult Service, TouchBase Ayrshire

Creative Individual Award:

Adam, Adult Service and One Giant Leap Glasgow

Inspirational Individual Award:

Shelley, One Giant Leap Lanarkshire

Man in wheelchair smiles at the camera
Sports Award winner Conor.

Volunteer of the Year Award:

Jordan, One Giant Leap and Our Voice Glasgow

Personal Development Award:

Leanne, East Kilbride Housing Support

Social Impact Award:

Ben, One Giant Leap Lanarkshire

Thoroughly Nice Person Award:

Gerard, One Giant Leap, Our Voice and Adult Service Glasgow

People’s Award

This award was won by someone who, throughout the whole judging process, impressed through their thoughtfulness, determination, integrity, enthusiasm and helpful nature. The winner was Ian.

Thank you to everyone who made the event such a success.

Man walks towards the camera as crowd beside him clap
Ian won the People’s Award.

Chicken initiative is just ‘fine’

Woman smiling at the camera
Karen Goodman-Jones

Our Malawi Project Coordinator Karen Goodman-Jones reports on an unusual approach to inclusive education in Northern Malawi ….

“Chalk and cheese” and “chicken and egg”. We’re all familiar with these phrases, but what about “chicken and chalk”? For one enterprising community in Northern Malawi this is their approach to a more inclusive education for those with disabilities. And it’s working.

Chicken walking along the grass
The chicken fine is a win-win situation.

Six months in to our four-and-a-half year project, which is funded by the Scottish Government, it’s a good time to take stock and assess our progress. 

Our project is designed to work with rural communities in Northern Malawi, challenging negative attitudes towards people with disabilities, especially children with additional learning needs. We believe every child has a right to an education and the lifelong opportunities and choices that this offers. 

To reach this goal we’re working with our local partner – Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia Education Department. And we’re working with respected community leaders, teachers and head teachers, parents and brothers and sisters of those with disabilities. We offer the chance to learn about children’s rights and their abilities, and to encourage an attitude that with support, children with additional needs can attend school, can learn, can make friends and can achieve academically.

To date our project has directly reached nearly 2,200 children, parents, teachers and community leaders with training and support to champion the rights of all children to an education. 

But behind these numbers, what has changed for the individuals?

This is where the chickens come in… as a way forward for the community in the village of Mfinda, in Chitipa District, to support their learners with additional needs at their local school, Mpale School.

Mfinda village has a population of nearly 5,600 people and this training was the first time any of them had been exposed to the idea of inclusive education. Following village meetings, they decided to put in place new by-laws with those ‘breaking’ the by-law facing a ‘chicken fine’.

Those who failed to attend the village’s development meetings, which look to improve their community’s future, faced a fine of one chicken. This was then taken further to support inclusive education, with every family failing to send any of their children to school, regardless of any additional needs having to pay a ‘chicken fine’.  With each chicken worth around £2, this money is donated to the school to purchase chalk and other essentials necessary for learning.

According to the School Management Committee Chairman, Mr Mark Mtambo, in only the first few weeks since the by-law was introduced, two families have been fined, £4 has been raised to buy chalk and two children with additional needs are now registered to attend school.

For the village of Mfinda, and indeed Mpale School, it’s a win-win situation; all the local children will now have a chance to learn and, if they fail to attend, their teaching resources are being increased. With over 1,800 pupils, of which nearly 100 have been identified as having additional needs, boxes of chalk are in short supply!

This is just one small story from the dozens of communities where we work, and just highlights some of the 2,200 people who are now being offered the chance to change their lives for the better, thanks to the people of Scotland.

We will be following Mfinda Village and many others over the coming months, so please do check back and see what a difference your tax is making to children in Northern Malawi.

Thank you.


A closer look at Malawi


I have a crick in my neck. Every time I think about Malawi, and all the things I’ll be trying to see out of my truck window when I visit, my hands go to my neck.

Darius drops in to concert


Singer Darius visited Sense Scotland’s TouchBase Glasgow and took part in the annual Christmas Concert.

Young people get animated


A film made by One Giant Leap Dundee in collaboration with Dundee Contemporary Arts has had its premiere.

Learning disability charities become Carer Positive employers


ENABLE Scotland and Sense Scotland have been awarded Carer Positive status. The Carer Positive scheme is operated by Carers Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and is awarded to employers who introduce working practices that aims to make life easier for those who have caring responsibilities.

Brushing up on qualifications


Almost 40 people were presented with hard-earned ASDAN awards at Sense Scotland’s recent graduation ceremony for the people they support.

Changing lives in Malawi


Funding of more than £1.2 million has been secured by Sense Scotland from the Scottish Government’s Malawi Development Fund to continue its life-changing work which supports the development of inclusive education in Northern Malawi.

Volunteer friendly award gained


Sense Scotland is delighted to have gained the ‘Volunteer Friendly Award’ from Volunteer Dundee for our Early Years activities.

Ken Buchanan is knockout draw


Ex-boxer Ken Buchanan MBE, an inductee in to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, will be a knockout draw for the crowds attending Sense Scotland’s Festival of Fun this month.