After dedicating more than three decades to making a difference to the lives of those with autism and learning difficulties, Lesley Fisher, Registered Manager of Options Roxby House in North Lincolnshire – a specialist autism residential service rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – has won the Lifetime Achiever Award at the Autism Hero Awards 2018. The national event is run by The Anna Kennedy Online Charity to celebrate excellence in autism, and winners were announced at a glittering ceremony held on Saturday 13th October at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in Central London.
From her early days in nursing – when autism went largely unrecognised – Lesley Fisher has been passionate about empowering people with learning difficulties and additional needs to achieve their potential, sharing her knowledge and skills with the local community to spread understanding and promote inclusion. Having been instrumental in the development of the Options Autism North Services since 2001, Lesley was nominated for the Award by two colleagues, who highlighted that she “continues to make measurable differences to those with autism, she is a passionate advocate for those with autism and works determinedly to ensure that everyone is living their best life”.
Commenting on the accolade, Lesley said “The nomination – and win – came as a complete surprise! It is a huge honour to be thought of in this way by other people and this award is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of our entire team.” She added: “Each individual has potential that can be unlocked given the right support and an understanding of how autism impacts them.”
The Autism Hero Awards, originally launched in Wales, became a nationwide event three years ago when renowned autism Ambassador Anna Kennedy OBE took the reins from its founder Jo Kirton Salmon. Anna and her team from Anna Kennedy Online wanted to create an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the excellence taking place in the world of autism, whilst also enhancing autism awareness and acceptance. All nominees have impacted people’s lives and made positive changes selflessly.
Lesley was amongst 14 winners chosen across various categories by a panel of distinguished judges. Dr Anna Kennedy OBE said: “The Autism Hero Awards recognise the extraordinary contributions and achievements of individuals, teams and organisations who have shown dedication, commitment and courage and have had a life-changing impact on the lives of people affected by autism. All the finalists are sensational people in society.”
When asked about the highlight of the event, Lesley said: “Listening to a duet from Phantom of the Opera sung by a young lady and gentleman with autism – the young lady was non-verbal up to the age of 6 and this performance was a moving testimony to the impact the right support can have on autism.”
For a full list of all winners please visit: https://autismheroawards.com/2018-winners-details/