Autism Berkshire’s chief executive officer, Jane Stanford-Beale, has been named as one of just 22 winners of a Census 2021 Purple Plaque, for her contribution to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.
The special plaques – one for each National Census that has taken place to date – were awarded to community heroes across England and Wales.
The judges said the winners, chosen from hundreds of entries, had made an amazing difference during a difficult time.
The award of the plaque recognised the work that Jane led to transfer Autism Berkshire’s services online during the first coronavirus lockdown last spring, helping to ensure that autistic people and their families in the county still had access to advice and support.
The services taken online included autism advice workshops and courses and one-to-one home advice visits made virtually by video link, rather than face-to-face. Click here for details.
Jane said: “I’m truly grateful to have received a Census 2021 Community Hero Award plaque, from among the hundreds of entries that were submitted. Supporting families of autistic children is a true honour for me and I’m thrilled to have been selected for this recognition.”
The panel of judges was led by actress Joanna Page, best known for her role in the BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey. She said: “It was such a pleasure to read through all the amazing entries. In what has been a difficult year for so many of us, this was a great opportunity to say thank you to the people who go above and beyond to serve their local community.”
And speaking on the BBC TV Breakfast news programme on Wednesday, March 10, Joanna spoke about her own family’s experiences of lockdown and singled out Jane for praise.
She said: “I can only think about how I coped with three children. To think of families with autistic children and their support system has disappeared and they can’t access it, I think it’s fantastic that Jane managed to act quickly and get it all online so that families still had support, because I found lockdown difficult, being with the children all the time and trying to educate them… I was so impressed.”
- The 2021 Census Day is Sunday, March 21. All households should now have received a letter in the post telling them how to complete the census form online, which should take about 10 minutes. If you prefer to complete a printed form, these can be requested via www.census.gov.uk or by calling 0800 141 2021. The census will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, to inform decisions nationally and locally on public services and other issues.