Shining a light on communication champions

The Shine a Light awards for the Hello, national year of communication have been a milestone mark in our calendars over the course of this year, and yesterday the inaugural event finally arrived!

On the 10th Floor of the Strand, over 120 people came together to celebrate their achievements and hear the anticipated results of their applications, submitted back in August. The setting offered fantastic views over the Thames where the lights from surrounding buildings and the London Eye lit up over the afternoon as the sun disappeared. We were also lucky to have a surprise celebrity host, TV and radio presenter Vanessa Feltz who brought to the ceremony enthusiasm and warmth for the subject, and worked to really make every award winner and finalist feel special.

Holly, winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award with Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive and celebrity host Vanessa Feltz

There were 14 awards announced over all, including three outstanding achievement awards, and in true Oscars style each winner was announced, followed by the highly commended finalists. Each was then invited to collect an award and certificate from the award presenters and be photographed with Vanessa Feltz.

The award winners included Watercliffe Meadow Primary School in Sheffield, which won the Primary Setting Communication Friendly Award, as well as a special Outstanding Achievement Award, for their child-centred communication approach and excellent parent involvement and support. The Play and Communication Team in Barking and Dagenham won the Team of the Year Award for creating a significant impact in engaging with parents in their target area.

The Employee Support Award was won by The Co-Operative in Mansfield, Nottingham for their work with pupils from I CAN’s Dawn House Specialist School. The Co-Operative was applauded for their strong leadership and commitment in supporting young people with SLCN and ensuring staff engagement. 

Jack Marshall winner of the Young Person of the Year Shine a Light Award with Vanessa Feltz

The awards ceremony concluded with a fantastic film celebrating all our award winners. The film was put together over the course of the last week and a half, and amazingly we managed not to let slip that those being filmed were indeed our winners; a hard feat when you are there watching their amazing work in practice. Inspiring is not a big enough word to capture the achievements of all these individuals.

Excitingly, the event was rounded off with afternoon tea which included Hello cupcakes and champagne, and the release of 120 Hello balloons into the night sky. Look out, because if you find one and email us with the special code we’ll donate £5 each time to charity. 

Hello cupcakes

With prizes handed out, photographs taken and cakes eaten, the day finally drew to a close, leaving us all feeling like we had been part of something very special. Hello has been an area that has meant a lot to us both professionally and personally making us very proud to be the award sponsors. We are now looking forward to seeing the photos as they roll in, do keep an eye on our Flickr page, and we look forward to seeing the awards continue next year.

The full list of winners are:

  • Communication Friendly Award: Early Years – University of East Anglia Nursery Team, Norwich. 
  • Communication Friendly Award: Primary Schools – Watercliffe Meadow School, Sheffield. 
  • Communication Friendly award: Secondary Schools – Preston Manor School, Wembley. 
  • Team of the Year Award – The Play and Communication Team, Barking and Dagenham. 
  • Team of the Year Award: Multi‐agency – Early Years Teams Stoke on Trent City Council. 
  • Team of the Year Award: Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Service, Community Health Newham. 
  • Communication Strategy Award – Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate, Sheffield. 
  • Commissioning Award: Worcestershire Council and NHS Worcestershire. 
  • Employee Support Award – The Clipstone Co‐operative food store in Mansfield. 
  • The Hello Campaign Award – Bristol Hello Group. 
  • Hello Young Person of the Year Award – Jack Marshall. 
  • Outstanding Achievement Award – Stoke Speaks Out, Stoke on Trent.
  • Outstanding Achievement Award – Watercliffe Meadow School, Sheffield. 
  • Outstanding Achievement Award – Holly Tadman.