Sara Pickard, a prominent campaigner who has Down’s syndrome, was nominated to attend the prestigious 2019 ‘Women of the Year’ Awards.
Sara, who lives near Cardiff, has been recognised for her campaign work for people with a learning disability. She has worked for Mencap Cymru, a charity which supports people with a learning disability in Wales, for 13 years.
Currently, Sara is project officer at Mencap Cymru where she works on the ‘Play Our Way’ project, which brings children both with and without a learning disability together through inclusive sport and activities. The project helps children increase their confidence, improve their team work and build meaningful friendships to help change attitudes towards learning disability for the next generation.
Sara is also a member of Mencap’s Voices Council, a board made up of representatives from across the country who have a learning disability and who help advise Mencap on its priorities and decisions.
Sara attended the ‘Women of the Year’ Lunch and Awards ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London to celebrate her hard work and that of 400 other women from across the country. Sara met fellow ‘Women of the Year’ Mel Giedroyc, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Tamzin Outhwaite, Angela Rippon and former Prime Minister Theresa May as well as judge Lorraine Kelly (pictured).
Sara Pickard says: “It is a great honour to be nominated to attend this event which I could never have imagined I would be a part of. To be one of just 400 women who have been recognised by ‘Women of the Year’ makes me very proud and it will be a day I will never forget. I always live my life by my motto which is…’Down’s Syndrome…so what?’”
Wayne Crocker, Director of Mencap Cymru, says: “Sara has been a valued member of our team at Mencap Cymru since 2006. She has always been a strong and visible role model for people with a learning disability and has been keen to try new things; whether that be training young people with a learning disability in Lesotho, South Africa or Botswana on one of her many trips to Southern Africa, to speaking at campaigning events in the National Assembly for Wales. We’re so proud of her and she really deserves this recognition.”
Mike and Shan Pickard, Sara Pickard’s parents, say: “We are incredibly proud of Sara and all that she has achieved. She works very hard in all the areas she is involved in from her ‘day-job’ with Mencap Cymru, her work for Inclusion International as the self-advocate Council member for Europe and her involvement over the past 11 years as a Community Councillor for her local community. Sara never ceases to amaze us with her commitment and energy to take on new challenges. Her nomination to attend the ‘Women of the Year’ Lunch and Awards is a fantastic honour and we know that Sara sees it not just as a recognition of her hard work but also yet another sign of success for those with a learning disability.”