Leeanne at the Learning Disability Awards on Friday presenting an award to the winner of the Community Champion Award Category, Greg Brands, from Create Aberdeen alongside host Rona Dougall.
Fife College student Leeanne Clarke found herself in the spotlight on Friday as she attended Scotland’s Learning Disability Awards where she was invited to present an award.
Leeanne, aged 22 from Lochgelly, was delighted to present one of the final awards of the evening – the Community Champion Award. The awards recognise the talents and achievements of people with learning disabilities in Scotland, and the people who work with and for them. The event was organised by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) - the Community Champion award category recognised the difference that people can make when they champion the causes of their community and work to make things better for everyone.
Leeanne was asked to present the award by RSA Scotland, the sponsors of the category, in her capacity as a lifetime fellow of the RSA. Leeanne received her lifetime fellowship for her creative ideas around writing an autobiography about her experiences, before and after being in care. Her autobiography is currently receiving final edits and is due to be published in the near future.
It’s been an exciting and busy time for Leeanne as she juggles the final edit stage of her book, ‘My Journey Through Life – The Real Me’, with the final weeks of her College course. Leeanne studies Travel, Tourism, Hospitality and Events at Fife College’s Kirkcaldy Campus and hopes to secure a job in the hospitality sector once she leaves College.
Over the last few years Leeanne has had the opportunity to travel – she visited India to help children with HIV at the Arunima Hospice in Kolkata through her local church in Lochgelly, and has also been to Italy to research Italian hospitality through her College course.
Leeanne is also involved in a range of volunteering work in her local community, including volunteering at the Scouts and Beavers group every week.
Said Leeanne: “I loved writing my book and I’m delighted that it will soon be completed. The best part is knowing it will be available for others, who are working or living in a care experienced setting to read. I hope that by telling my story I can help inform and make a difference to other people’s lives.
“I have been fortunate to benefit from some wonderful experiences over the last few years through receiving an RSA Fellowship, working with SCLD and through my time at College – I really enjoyed my travels to India and Italy and hope to focus my next book on my travels.
“Being invited to the awards to present an award is the icing on the cake for me and I was very proud to represent the RSA as a Fellow and to help recognise the achievements of the award finalists.
“Going to Fife College has also been important to me, to gain qualifications to get a job; getting a job in my community is the next big goal for me.”
Leeanne is also looking forward to seeing a short film about her book showcased at a launch event in September, organised by SCLD, which will also highlight the achievements of six other RSA Fellows.
Linda Mitchell, Partnership and Development Manager at SCLD said: “Leanne did a fantastic job presenting the Community Champion Award and is a great role model for others. We were delighted that she could attend the event and look forward to releasing the film about her experiences later this year. We have been honoured to support Leeanne in her journey as a writer. We wish Leeanne the very best for the future as she leaves college and begins a new chapter in her life.”
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