Support Worker Hannah reaches regional final of learning disability and autism awards

Support Worker Hannah Bernard

National Star Support Worker Hannah Bernard has been shortlisted as a regional finalist in the National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards in Wales in recognition of the crucial role she plays in supporting National Star in Wales.

Drama and theatre graduate Hannah, a key member of staff at National Star in Wales, was an original member of the team at Mamhilad, near Pontypool, when it first opened its doors.

After graduating she worked as a personal assistant to a young man and knew almost immediately that her future career lay in health and social care. Hannah now works as a Facilitator, training to be a tutor, at National Star in Wales.

A world of opportunities for students at National Star

‘National Star opens up a world of opportunities for people with disabilities, building upon their skills and encouraging them to learn in a way that suits them,’ said Hannah.

‘It’s hugely motivating to know that I’m using my creativity to build students’ independence and social skills and overall self-confidence. For example, seeing students grow and develop through performing arts is amazing.

‘The staff I work with are really supportive. There isn’t a hierarchy which is lovely. As a result everyone respects each other and the expertise they bring to the team.’

Helping students to express themselves through dance

As one of Mamhilad’s Welsh speakers Hannah weaves the Welsh language into all aspects of the curriculum. For instance, she starts each morning session with ‘bore da’ and routinely chats about the weather in Welsh. She enjoys taking the students to a weekly all ability dance session in Abergavenny and helping them to express themselves through movement.

John Mann, Head of National Star in Wales said: ‘Hannah always does more than just her job, she ‘makes a difference’ to all the students, staff and parents she supports. Her passion, creativity and use of community connections are inspiring. However Hannah’s overwhelming contribution is the empathy and warmth she shares with everyone she connects with.’

It’s all down to the judges

As a finalist in the prestigious awards Hannah was interviewed at length by an independent panel of judges. She will discover whether she is named Support Worker of the Year (Wales) at a Gala Dinner in Cardiff on 20 June.

If successful she will join other regional finalists from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands at the national finals in London in October.

‘I was absolutely thrilled and very shocked to be told I had been shortlisted, it was completely unexpected, as I wasn’t aware I had been nominated. I was petrified of the thought of being interviewed by judges, but it ended up being quite a lovely experience. I can’t wait to put on a fancy dress and enjoy the awards night this month!’ said Hannah.

Discover more about National Star in Wales

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