The PaCC Awards 2023

a celebration of people and organisations who have helped send families in 2023

The PaCC Awards celebrate and recognise those people and those organisations who went that extra mile to be there for you. Thank you to all of you who sent in a nomination – we had a record number for 2023!

The awards were presented to the winners on Thursday 7th March 2024 at the PaCC Awards 2023 event which took place at the Auditorium, Brighthelm Centre, Brighton. Becky Robinson, PaCC Chair, introduced the event and the awards were presented by Georgina Clarke-Green, Assistant Director, Health, SEN & Disability, Families, Children and Learning at Brighton & Hove City Council and representatives from PaCC. – see below for full list of winners. A PaCC Awards 2023 certificate was sent to those individuals or organisation who were nominated but didn’t win.

The award ceremony was followed by the launch of an international project, Balancing Act, which aims to review the support families with SEND receive in different parts of the world. Thank you to everyone who got nominated for their fantastic work and thank you to everyone who attended the event.

Read the list of the 2023 PaCC Awards winners and why they were nominated:

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Education Sector 2023, presented to:  ​

Juliet Hudson, Headteacher of Downs View Link College, Brighton

“Juliet is a formidable force. She joined us in a meeting even though she was short on teachers, had numerous pressures, but wanted to support us in any way she could.  Juliet has seen the magnificence of our daughter in every sense. Through her expert knowledge, understanding, compassion and her commitment, we now have a daughter who can manage to remain in a classroom, is learning her curriculum, and who wants to go into college.  This is an incredible feat. As parents we applaud her and now our daughter is coming on so strong, understanding much more in the world, managing her anxiety much better, and expressing herself better making our lives at home and in college more productive and fun. A massive thank you.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Education Sector 2023 presented to:  ​

Lucy Grout, Senior Learning Support Assistant, Brighton MET

“Lucy supported my son for the academic year last year. He was returning to education after a period of nearly 6 years due to not managing to access education due to anxiety and poor mental health, and lack of appropriate support in mainstream school. We were not confident that he would cope back in education and his anxiety was very high, but Lucy bent over backwards to accommodate him in so many ways. He was able to trust her very quickly, she made small steps to earn his trust and never let him down. He is now successfully in his second year at college. As well as supporting him, Lucy kept in touch with me daily to reassure me, check what else she could do and give feedback without undermining my Son’s independence. We are so grateful for everything, and feel that Lucy has played an integral part in restarting my son’s education and more importantly giving him confidence to be himself.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Education Sector 2023 presented to:  ​

Kate Mummery, Class Teaching Assistant at Brunswick Primary School

“Kate sees my boy like no other. Even before his diagnosis when his autism looked like anxiety, if asked how he was he’d always say he was fine. Kate sees past this, she doesn’t let it go and let’s my boy take up the space he needs to be ok. He told me about her and when I first met her I cried. I’m grateful for her every day, she’s completely changed his experience of primary school, she is his safe place, and I can see she really cares about him, what more could I wish for! My boy struggles so much, but it’s quietly, and he could easily be missed, but she’d never miss him, just a look or slight change of mood and she checks in on him, always accepting and gentle, so now he has the capacity to learn as he needs to and regulate so much better with the tools she gives him.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Health Care Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Louise Loadsman, School Nurse at Downs View School

“Louise is so much more than just a fantastic nurse. She is super proactive with ideas and making resources available for the students at Downs View Special School. She is always available and goes way above and beyond what would be expected from her in day to day work at Downs View. A super reliable conduit between parents and other health care professionals, her knowledge is only surpassed by her willingness to help whenever she can. Always smiling and we are very lucky to have her working with our children. It would be great to see her hard work be acknowledged.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Social Care Sector 2023 presented to:  ​

Christine Howland, Manager at Ambito Day Centre

“Christine is the manager of the Ambito Day Centre which is a day centre for adults with learning disabilities. Christine makes sure that everyone that attends the day centre care plans are person centred. My son started attending in September when he left the life skills college and loves going to the day centre. 2 days are never the same with my son going out doing various activities with the support of the staff team. She always makes sure that everyone that attends the day centre does what they want to do. With Christine’s support and planning, my son’s transition from the life skills college to the day centre has been a huge success. Christine is completely in tune with what support my son needs and how that support is delivered.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Social Care Sector 2023, presented to:

Julia Jones, Social Worker at Specialist Community Disability Service 14-24, Brighton

“Julia tried no less than 3 times to get our family more support. She also went above and beyond to review my son’s school and provision following learning he had felt suicidal at the lack of support. This was not part her remit as my son is not part of our social care family package. This care package is for our daughter and includes our son within it, but he is not granted a care package. From this meeting, and her interaction (plus some things we did as parents) we got the support our son needed for one term. It was massively successful and we are incredibly grateful for Julia for this.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Social Care Sector 2023 presented to:  ​

​Olive Elliott-Smith, Personal Assistant

“Olive helps me to be the best mum I can be to my daughter. Olive helps me get my daughter ready for school, she helps me do the school runs, helps me with admin to do with my daughter’s autistic needs, she supports me in meetings and appointments, she helps me access support groups for parents of children with special educational needs. She even dropped our belongings to my sisters at Christmas so that we could manage to take the train without having too much to carry. Without Olive’s help we would have had to spend Christmas alone. This Christmas was so special as it was my daughter’s first Christmas where she ‘understood’ what Christmas is about. Caring for my daughter is very intense at times and Olive’s dependable and dynamic support means I can create meaningful childhood experiences for my daughter.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Voluntary Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Ruth Price, Face to Face Team Amaze

“Ruth was assigned to me almost 3 years ago as a befriender from Amaze. She always went above and beyond (and still does) to support me and my family and after the befriending finished, she became a friend. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her, she kept me from falling apart on numerous occasions and offered me very practical advice and guidance. She had such an impact on me that I have now myself been a volunteer for Amaze and ESPCF for just over a year now and I have just qualified as a befriender myself!”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Parent Carers Community Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Emma Collins, Organiser of Orchestra 360, inclusive music for families with disabilities

“Emma and James Redwood have led orchestra 360 for a number of years. It is an inclusive music project which teaches instruments, composition and a wonderful collaboration with parents and children and adults with disabilities. It has been a real privilege to witness their dedication and support for the young people in their musical journey. Concentration improves, confidence grows and parents soon find disability and difference is parked at the door. My son has been there from the beginning and the knock on effect for his confidence, musical ability and social interaction has a knock on effect in the rest of his life.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Parent Carers Community Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Natasha Nice, Mobile Hairdresser

“Natasha has made the single biggest impact on our family in years, and we are one of very many in Brighton and Hove who feel the same. She is recommended constantly by families with children and adults with special needs. My son could not have his hair cut for years and now smiles when he sees her. She is patient, kind, absolutely unflappable and children are drawn to her. She is an incredible listener and so interested in our lives. She wouldn’t think she makes a difference- she thinks she’s ‘just a hairdresser’ but she has more understanding and wisdom around supporting families with additional needs than most people I’ve come across. She’s taken an incredibly stressful task and turned it into something that we all look forward to. She is wonderful and deserves so much to be recognised!”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Parent Carer Customer Service Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Helen Golberg, Family Hub Keyworker, Tarner Family Hub

“I am thrilled to nominate Helen for her exceptional support to my family during our transition to a new country and culture. Where Helen truly made an indelible impact was in her tireless efforts to ensure the well-being and integration of my son, who is on the autism spectrum. She went above and beyond to find a suitable school that would cater to his unique needs, advocating fiercely for accommodations and understanding. Helen played a pivotal role in facilitating the process of getting a diagnosis for my son, ensuring that he received the necessary support and resources to thrive.  Without Helen’s invaluable assistance and unwavering support, our journey in this new country would have been exponentially more challenging. Her empathy, knowledge, and genuine commitment to our family’s well-being have made a profound difference in our lives.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Parent Carer Customer Service Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Norman Haskins, Hidden Children Officer, Brighton & Hove Local Authority

“I reached out to him as my son completely broke down and could no longer attend his mainstream school as they couldn’t meet his needs but in this new ‘system’ the placement has to fail to identify what further support can be offered.  Norman took it up as I was looking for an EOTAS package.  It wasn’t his area, the EOTAS email wasn’t working and I was lost in a myriad of emails not being answered.  Norman called me. The perfect response as I was suffering alongside my son mentally.  It’s been a horrific time.  Norman got me a contact within the SEND EHCP team and finally we made traction to have the emergency AR for my son’s placement review.  He saved my mental health.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Parent Carer Customer Service Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Mandy Leahy, Specialist Autism Family Support Worker at BHISS

“Mandy has been a wealth of knowledge and advice. Mandy is one of the few people who responds to an email or phone call. I honestly feel she is the only person I am interacting with, who has my son’s best interests at the forefront of what she does. She does not always have all of the answers but she does offer to signpost me to other members of her team or services. I feel listened to and supported. This whole process of school, pathway to diagnosis and then onwards from there has been utterly exhausting and brutal. Mandy has been a truly lovely gift of a person that we as a family have come into contact with. Sometimes you cannot see the wood for the trees and it is great to have someone who can listen and then target the advice, sometimes to things you knew but had forgotten but in a way that is truly kind and not at all condescending.  She is a wonderful person.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Parent Carer Customer Service Sector 2023 presented to: ​

Nicki Swann, EHCP Caseworker, SEN Team BHCC

“Nicki went out of her way to understand my YP’s needs, and really understood them. She was very helpful and proactive leading us patiently through the process and always happy to answer questions and explain things. Crucially she was able to signpost what criteria Panel might use to judge our case, which meant we could pre-empt problems and be prepared.  All this made an enormous difference in undergoing a very stressful process.”

PaCC Award for Excellence in the Education Sector 2023 presented to:  ​

Katie Blood, Head Teacher at St Bartholomew’s CE Primary School

“My child has had so much trauma from past school, he’s 6 years old with Autism, ADHD, PDA. He’s a smart kid but struggles so much. Katie goes out of her way to be there for him and the whole school, she runs a school, runs brownies, looks after her own family whilst also fighting to keep the school open. This woman is so strong and absolutely incredible and deserves recognition for EVERYTHING that she does. She never stops. My child is so happy to attend school even part time because of her. Without her, my son wouldn’t be in a school, wouldn’t have friends and would still be having nightmares from the previous trauma at the last school. Not only that, she’s helped me re-build a trust and bond with a school, with her and many other teachers.”

PaCC Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement to SEND families in Brighton & Hove 2023​ presented to:  ​

Ros Cook,  Chair of Trustees, Extratime

“Ros has been Chair of Trustees since Extratime registered as a charity.  For 20 years she has supported the Chief Execs, management team, trustees and the organisation as a whole. She has been a fountain of knowledge and wisdom throughout that time, leading the charity through its development and growth.  In recent times, she has helped the charity to navigate stormy waters and face overwhelming challenges.  Although ultimately Extratime could not survive, Ros ensured that everything that had to be done was completed both legally and compassionately, supporting staff so that they could support families in a time of transition. Thank you, Ros, for everything you have done for Extratime.”

PaCC Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement to SEND families in Brighton & Hove 2023, presented to:

Lisa Giles, Children’s Service Manager, Barnados Brighton & Hove Link Plus

“It’s unusual for a PaCC Award to be given with sadness as well as joy, but this year we found ourselves in the extremely sad position of having to say goodbye to an organisation that has been an absolute lifeline service for 25 years, to the children and young people in our city with the most complex of profound level of need. Barnardos was a unique respite and fostering service, which always kept the whole family need at the heart of their service planning. Life was especially challenging during COVID which brought huge pressures on SEND families mentally, emotionally, physically and financially – and you were there for us. I can see some of those families in the room today. Barnardos, you really are irreplaceable. Thank you for taking such good care of us as parents, for always being there as a listening ear and strong shoulder, and for opening up a bigger world to our children and young people.”


The winners!

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