Catherine has a learning disability and autism and is a Project Worker and Lead Trainer at CHANGE where she has now been working for 9 years.
Through her role, Catherine has been involved in a number of projects.
Changing health and social care
One project looked at parents with learning disabilities and how maternity services can be changed to be more inclusive.
As part of this she looked at the role of social workers and how they might be able to work better with parents with learning disabilities. With the overall goal of enabling parents with learning disabilities and autism to be treated equally, and crucially, to keep their children.
Other projects she has been involved with include a project on cancer, looking at what accessible information is available for people with learning disabilities, and a project on sex and education for adults with learning disabilities.
This project looked at relationships of people with learning disabilities and what education is available to them around safe relationships and sex. As part of this project she travelled to Holland, Germany, Hungary and Belgium where she participated in discussions and presentations.
Employment for people with learning disabilities
Most recently Catherine has been working alongside Leeds University on a new project called ‘Learning by Doing Together’.
The project focuses on the creation of new jobs for people with learning disabilities, within learning disabilities services. The jobs are peer-to-peer support worker roles for people with learning disabilities and in these roles, people with learning disabilities work in organisations as peer support workers.
The project helps to empower people with learning disabilities and to improve the services that people with learning disabilities use.
In March 2018 Catherine won the Advocacy award from Patient Experience Network (PEN) for her contribution in 2017, collecting her award at the ceremony hosted at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
At the ceremony Catherine delivered a presentation about her work on the ‘Learning By Doing Together’ project and throughout the day she provided information on the work that CHANGE does from their stall at the conference.
Taking any opportunity to help
No matter the project that she works on, Catherine always has a big impact on others.
The training she provided to student social workers inspired them to work differently, enabling more parents with learning disabilities to keep their children.
Throughout the work she does, Catherine displays such courage and confidence, travelling to countries she’s never visited before, changing opinions on learning disability, tackling ‘taboo’ subjects and proving that – without a doubt – people with learning disabilities and autism can successfully be supported into employment and make valuable contributions.
Catherine encourages everyone to make the most of opportunities presented to them and is always advocating for other people with learning disabilities and autism.