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Award recognises Eden woman’s dedication to making life better for others

Helen Storey, right, receiving the Peter Scott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Charity (2019) from Madeleine Scott

A WOMAN who has spent the last 25 years bringing people together to support those on the margins of society has been given the Peter Scott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Charity (2019).

Helen Storey, who lives near Penrith, was presented with the award by Francis C Scott Charitable Trust (FCSCT) on Friday 15 March.

The FCSCT gives over £1 million a year to charities in Cumbria and its border with Lancashire. It also recognises outstanding individual contribution with an Award that commemorates the legacy of one of the Trust’s founding members, Peter Scott CBE. He was chairman of the Provincial Insurance Company and someone who was passionate about the area and its people.

Helen, who is married with children and grandchildren, is the fourth person to receive the award which comes with a grant of £2,500. Helen will use it to benefit the ‘Triple A Project’ (All About Autism) which she set up in January 2016 after her grandson was diagnosed as being autistic.

On receiving her award Helen said: “I am deeply honoured to have been given such a wonderful award and to receive it from Peter Scott’s daughter. I am also grateful to funders who enable people like me to serve our marginalised communities. It’s a special award that comes in a special year.”

Over the last 25 years Helen has worked hard to represent, advocate and enable others who need help in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cumbria. Now she is pioneering ways to make life better for young adults with autism in the county, work which is gaining regional and national interest. The National Autistic Society say around 700,000 adults and children in the UK are autistic – a lifelong condition affecting how people communicate and interact with the world.

Helen says when her grandson received his diagnosis she wanted to know more to better understand his world and to be an effective grandma. She says, “This sparked a journey of discovery and the realisation that there was very little practical help in the county. Triple A provides support to young people with autism and training to professionals by putting autistic people at the heart of it.

“We run a ‘Navigator Programme’, steering adults with autism away from potentially harmful and negative behaviour, working with the police. We also run ‘Positive Pals’ – a safe place for autistic adults to meet and socialise in a way that makes sense to them – with groups meeting in Penrith, Workington, Kendal, Carlisle and Barrow. And we have a ‘Discovery Panel’, a workshop devised by autistics, for autistics, to increase their understanding of their own autism” adds Helen.

Another important strand of the charity’s work is training and awareness building amongst professionals including NHS staff, the police, housing associations and colleges. Helen says a film and e-book, commissioned by NHS England, and a mini-clip ‘Making Plans for Nigel’ provides a helpful insight into the needs of those with autism. A film made by the charity is also used in police training nationally. And others are in the pipeline including a town guide and a film for schools.

Helen says there is still little practical help for people with autism and Triple A is overwhelmed with enquiries but, she is heartened by the difference Triple A is making. She says: “We are doing what we can, for who we can, the best we can. To serve such a richly diverse community means continuing to listen and learn and to build on our successes. This should be a good year as we celebrate our first anniversary as a registered charity, welcome Barney, a Cockapoo dog, to the team and, on a personal note, I will finish my degree with the Open University. We will also be developing the Discovery Panel using the £2,500 grant.

Congratulating Helen on her Award, FCSCT Director Helen Carter says: “We meet many fantastic people, giving their time and energy to projects that improve lives and support positive change for others. This was the case with Helen Storey. Now she is driving Triple A to local, regional and national recognition, transforming the lives of people with autism across the county and beyond – not bad for an organisation still officially in only its second year of operating.

“Setting up a new organisation can be overwhelming, but Helen is relentless in her pursuit of social inclusion. The Peter Scott Award is our small way of acknowledging and shining a light on the incredible achievements that Helen and her team at Triple A continue to make” adds Helen Carter.

Previous recipients of the Peter Scott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Charity are: 2014 – Jan Davinson (Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers); 2016 – Paul Rowe (Phoenix Youth Project, Cleator Moor) and; 2017 – Yakub Patel (Marsh Community Centre, Lancaster District CVS & Lancashire Youth Challenge). For more information about the Peter Scott Award and those who have been given it, including Helen Storey please visit: http://www.fcsct.org.uk/peter-scott-award/

For more information about Triple A please visit www.tripleaproject.org.uk, or pop into their new premises at Corney Square in Penrith.

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