A Berkhamsted resident was proud to be shortlisted for the ‘Person of the Year’ award at the annual Sense Awards.
Clare Manley, 47, who has a learning disability, was nominated by the national charity in recognition of the challenges she has overcome during the pandemic and for co-creating a book of poetry about her experience.
The pandemic has been challenging for Clare, who requires daily support from carers to complete everyday tasks.
Clare had to shield due to health problems and, as a result, her carers couldn’t visit her at home and she was left completely isolated.
After weeks of not seeing anyone in person, Clare made the decision to temporarily return to the home of her elderly parents, having worked hard to live independently.
Clare continued to work for the NHS in a part-time role as an Access Health Champion, determined to adapt to online working so she could advocate for the needs of patients with a learning disability. She also co-created a poetry collection, Growing Wild: The Pandemic Through the Eyes of a Poet with Learning Disabilities, and wrote a poem for Pascal Theatre’s Giving Voice project.
Clare said: “I really enjoyed and worked very hard to put the Growing Wild book together and I am very excited to be considered for this award.”
Although Clare ultimately missed out on the award win, Richard Kramer, Sense chief executive, offered kind words of support for the Berkhamsted resident.
He said: “It’s wonderful that Clare was able to overcome the difficulties she faced throughout the last 18 months and has created something positive that will inspire others.
“We congratulate her on her achievements and wish her all the best for the future.”