On Wednesday 6th December the members of People First Keighley and Craven were joined by friends, family, colleagues and carers in the grounds of the beautiful Broughton Hall near Skipton.

For those who didn’t attend The Big Thanks was a way of celebrating our members many achievements.

Members were given a plus one to bring with them, a family members, friend or carer,  and then they invited organisations we have worked with and also guests on our podcast.

One of our main aims for this year is to develop relationships with families and carers of our members to help them recognise and encourage members advocacy outside the office too.

A group of people with physical and learning disabilities smiling

The day was hosted by the wonderful custodians of the estate, Paris and Roger.

We showcased our work, giving thanks particularly for The Big Lottery funding which has now come to an end.

Broughton hall estate

Diary of the day

We met at 10am for hot drinks and chat in Utopia

We’d been working hard to prepare for the big day and the suite was looking fantastic – it had handmade flower decorations (made in session with Emma Carlisle) and there were People First wreaths featuring past and present logos, symbolising all the many contributions made over the years.

We were welcomed by our members Daniel, Sarah, Tracey and Stephen in the conference suite, Avalon.

Our first workshop of the day was a challenging but fun game of True or False. It made people think and many people learned something new about what we get up to at PFKC.

Next up, our fantastic volunteer Nadia Clarke spoke to us about her lived experience as a woman with Cerebral Palsy.

She spoke about the barriers she faced when finding voluntary and paid work and so many of us could really empathise with her journey.

She then spoke of her experience volunteering at People First KC, supporting our advocates and we were very proud of her.

Female smiling

We also heard from Shaun Webster MBE, who spoke passionately about his life story as a person with Learning Disabilities and the many ways in which he supports other disabled people to advocate for themselves.

Shaun kept us laughing, at the same time as he highlighted the importance of his work.

Gentleman with hat smiling

We hope to upload Shaun and Nadia’s speeches onto our YouTube channel soon.

We took lunch together in Utopia and there were plenty of opportunities to network and chat over the delicious buffet options.

We opened our afternoon with an introduction from manager Catrina.

We watched a video about why it is important that PFKC is an equitable organisation.

The short film explains the differences between Equality and Equity managed to make us laugh, whilst making an important point.

We then saw a photo montage of things we’ve achieved and done at PFKC and it was amazing to see the variety of activities we take part in on a daily basis.

Many people watching a screen

We celebrated the many triumphs of the organisation this year – such as our podcast, which was shortlisted for a Lovie Award.

The highlight of our afternoon was our chance to say thank you to all of our members, without whom we could achieve nothing. It was really special to see each member presented with an award of appreciation for all their hard work and to hear some members give their own thank you speeches back to their colleagues at PFKC.

Each member was given a card with messages from staff and volunteers, that was given out by Catrina and then the lovely Paris Ackril handed out the trophies.

It was really special having Paris with us.

Two people hugging

The trophies were made of glass with each members name and the unique award they were being given.

Trophy made out of glass and a man holding a trophy

Some people said they had no idea that their child, sister, brother, friend was doing such important work at People First KC.

We want to make sure loved ones of members are well aware of their hard work, because they are doing our us all proud.

Catrina said to The Keighley News:

“None of this would have been possible without the tireless work of staff and volunteers at People First Keighley & Craven.

They all go above and beyond for members because they believe in what we are doing.

We have several volunteers with disabilities too, who each bring such a lot to our organisation.

We want to lead by example and show that with reasonable adjustments, people with disabilities can truly do anything.

People First Keighley & Craven is testament to that philosophy.”