We have announced the winners of the 2015 Signature Annual Awards, which recognise and celebrate the achievements of volunteers, businesses and individuals whose efforts help deaf people to be part of their local community.
Winners were announced at a prestigious ceremony, Signature Recognises… The Community, which was held at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry and hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty.
The categories and winners were:
- Inspirational Young Person Award – Zanna Messenger-Jones, Cumbria
Zanna is a member of the NDCS Young People's Advisory Board and has campaigned tirelessly against changes to the Disabled Students Allowance.
- Outstanding Service Award – Paul Pemberton, Essex
Firefighter Paul learnt sign language and created subtitled fire safety videos is BSL to make the fire service and fire safety more accessible for deaf people.
- Entrepreneur Award – Vanessa Addison, Bournemouth
Successfully established and manages a property company which builds affordable, environmentally-friendly homes with a £3 million annual turnover.
- Community Spirit Award – Harry Wooldridge, Norwich
Formed and manages The Bluebird Deaf Water Ski Club in 1965.
- Community Impact Award – Leicestershire Police and the Police Link Officers for Deaf people (PLOD)
PLOD members, which include police officers and staff from across Leicestershire, have received training in deaf awareness and British Sign Language (BSL) and work with the deaf and hard of hearing people in the community to determine the best way they can offer help, support and guidance and make the police service more accessible for deaf people.
- Outstanding Contribution Award – Jenny Sealey MBE, London
Artistic director and chief executive of the UK's foremost disabled-led theatre company, the Graeae Theatre since 1997, and credited with taking it from a small independent theatre company to an award-winning theatre company of world-renown. Jenny also co-directed the Paralympic opening ceremony in 2012.
- Community Group/Project Award – Life & Deaf, London
Life & Deaf is a project that aims to help young deaf people explore their identities and develop communication skills and emotional literacy through poetry and the arts.
Signature's chief operating officer Lindsay Foster said: “On behalf of everyone at Signature, I would like to congratulate all of those shortlisted and the winners of this year’s awards. They clearly demonstrate the excellence and the commitment to improving deaf communications that the awards aim to recognise.
"The awards are now in their seventh year and still we are amazed by the numbers and calibre of entries we receive. Every individual and organisation on the shortlist should be very, very proud of their achievements and the brilliant work they do. They are all an absolute inspiration.
"The winners in each category have done amazingly well and really deserved to win. We hope that they continue with their excellent work and enjoy lots more future success."
For further information about the ceremony visit www.signatureannualawards.org.uk/ceremony.php