18 Sep Remarkable special needs teacher from Benfleet joins the call for 2021 WellChild Awards nominations
Last year’s WellChild Award winner Helen Uludag from Benfleet has joined national children’s charity, WellChild, in the call for nominations for the 2021 WellChild Awards, in association with GSK. This prestigious annual event celebrates the inspirational qualities of the UK’s seriously ill children and young people and the dedication of those who go that extra mile to make a real difference to their lives.
The huge disruption caused by Coronavirus in 2020 meant the Awards have been postponed for this year but, with the support of our sponsors and of the general public they will be back and more important than ever in 2021. Many of the vulnerable children, young people and families supported by WellChild have struggled immensely during COVID-19 and the charity hopes that opening Awards nominations will help to shine a light on the challenges many have faced, whilst bringing some much needed hope and positivity to their lives at this difficult and uncertain time.
Helen, who has taught children with additional learning needs at Glenwood School in South Benfleet for 17 years, attended the star-studded 2019 Awards ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London where she had the chance to chat with many of the celebrity guests and WellChild supporters including Patron, The Duke of Sussex and The Duchess of Sussex.
Speaking at the 2019 WellChild Awards, The Duke said: “No parent wants to hear that their child will suffer; that they will face extraordinary challenges that will affect them throughout their lives. And yet, after meeting all of the WellChild parents and the kids themselves over the years, you’ve managed to give all of us a sense of optimism, a sense of hope and strength that no professional, no bestselling book and no amount of advice can ever give any of us. So thank you for being you.
“All the young people, their families, the nurses, the support staff, here tonight, have demonstrated extraordinary strength, courage and resilience. Never ever underestimate what this means for each other, within your community or further afield. You are all role models, and pretty fantastic ones at that!”
Helen was picked from 100s of nominations from across the UK to win the Outstanding Professional Awards category. Helen Uludag left a long term career in mainstream teaching to give more back to her local community, by working with children with learning difficulties and physical and sensory impairment. WellChild judges were impressed with nominations from the parents of children taught by Helen who roundly praised her unreserved giving of time and energy to making the lives of the children as fulfilling as possible.
WellChild is now calling on people in the East of England to put forward their nominations for the 2021 WellChild Awards.
“I had such a fantastic experience with the WellChild Awards” said Helen. “It was such a privilege to be involved with and something I will never forget, particularly meeting the inspirational children who also won awards. It would be terrific if a child or another professional from Essex were chosen as a WellChild Award winner.”
Guests at the 2019 event included singer Pixie Lott who also performed during the show, TV presenters Rochelle and Marvin Humes, reality TV star Tan France, TV personality and HNS clinician Dr Ranj Singh, and Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher. The Awards, in association with global healthcare company GSK, were hosted by TV presenters Radzi Chinyanganya and Gaby Roslin.
WellChild Chief Executive, Colin Dyer said: “There are more children and young people than ever before in the UK living with long-term, serious health needs. The Coronavirus outbreak has placed these children and families under more pressure than many of us can comprehend. The WellChild Awards 2021 will be a unique opportunity to recognise and highlight the immense challenges they have faced and to celebrate the remarkable positivity, resilience and spirit they have demonstrated. It will also help us to shine a light on the dedication of those around them, from siblings, professionals and volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help them through such challenging times.”
If you know someone who deserves special recognition, then nominate them for a WellChild Award by visiting www.wellchild.org.uk/awards. The closing date for entries is Monday 14th December at noon.
Entries for the 2021 Awards will be judged by an expert panel including former winners and child health professionals. Categories for nominations are as follows:
· Inspirational Child or Young Person – A child or young person between the ages of four and eighteen who has kept smiling and defied the odds despite living with a long-term serious health condition.
· Young Carer – A special child or young person between the ages of four and eighteen who devotes much of their time and energy freely and lovingly to care for a friend or sibling who is living with a long-term serious health condition.
· Nurse – A children’s nurse who goes the extra mile for children and young people with serious health needs.
· Doctor – A doctor working with children and young people who goes the extra mile for the children and young people in their care.
· Outstanding Professional Award – A professional who has worked above and beyond for children and young people living with serious health needs.
· Volunteer – An individual who has gone out of their way to support a child or young person living with a serious long-term health condition.