Bristol Autism Support is very proud of our Founding Director Kate Laine-Toner, she works tirelessly to support so many families. So we are very excited to share the news with you all that Kate’s hard work has been recognised at the Palace of Westminster with the prestigious British Citizen Award for Volunteering (BCAv).
The British Citizen Award in partnership with One Stop, is now in its eighth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities throughout the country. Kate was honoured on 24th March 2022 with The British Citizen Award for Services to Volunteering & Charitable Giving and has received the coveted BCA Medal of Honour, a certificate of honour and invited to use the post-nominals BCAv as a legacy of her achievement.
Kate’s Extraordinary Endeavours
Kate founded Bristol Autism Support to support parents of autistic children and has volunteered over 10,000 hours since the charity’s inception in 2012. 2022 is an exciting year with the 10th Anniversary of Bristol Autism Support (BAS) coming up in June. Kate, who is also autistic set up the charity when she couldn’t find any support to help her with her own daughter who was diagnosed with autism when she was two years old. Starting as a small monthly meeting in a local pub, in a decade it has grown to become a comprehensive support service for over 3,000 local parent / carers of autistic children.
Having a child with autism can be isolating for parents and the nature of the disability means the family may not fit in with traditional society. BAS is a safe haven and has a community of more than 3,000 families. BAS offers support through Facebook groups, online and face-to-face meetings as well as family activities, phone and email support, training sessions and courses. Through BAS, Kate ensures parents know how to deal with a wide range of autism-specific issues including how to find support for their child in school.
During the pandemic, when most professional support was withdrawn from families, Kate stepped in to fill the gap, moving all in-person support online and setting up a team of parent support volunteers to provide phone, email and befriending support.
“Everyone at Bristol Autism Support is delighted that Kate’s hard work to support parent/ carers in Bristol is being recognised and honoured. Kate has created a fantastic community at Bristol Autism Support that provides invaluable support to families” Jason Thorne, Chair of Bristol Autism Support.
“This year’s medalists have reminded us of how many amazing people are supporting our communities, especially during such a challenging time. At One Stop we serve many communities across the country, and we know how important voluntary work is to support those in need. We’re proud to be partnering with the BCA again and to play a small part in helping each medallist to be recognised. Our congratulations go to all honourees”, said Jonny McQuarrie, from BCA partner One Stop.
The British Citizen Award (BCA)
The Medal presentation was hosted by TV presenter Tim Vincent, and attended by BCA Patron Dame Mary Perkins, Founder of Specsavers, and Baroness Caroline Cox. The British Citizen Award (BCA) was established in 2015 to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on their communities and society. The BCA recognises true community heroes who would otherwise likely be overlooked. Dubbed ‘The People’s Honours’, many recipients have subsequently been selected to receive a Queen’s Honour after their endeavours have been recognised with a BCA.
Each medalist had a day to remember befitting their achievements. At the Palace of Westminster medals will be presented by Senior Representatives from official partner One Stop, Places for People, Specsavers, Objective HR and Experian, who all support this unique programme. Following this, medalists were treated to an Open Top Lap of Honour tour before attending a certificate presentation at the prestigious Church House.
The British Citizen Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday people for exceptional endeavour and are truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.