AN INSPIRATIONAL woman who set up a respite centre in Ronkswood for families who have children with disabilities has scooped a top national award.
Jean Wilson, founder and manager of New Hope, was crowned Family Hero for the West Midlands at the 4Children and Take a Break Magazine UK Awards 2013.
The award was in recognition of her work in running the centre on Wells Road, which was established in 2010 after Jean struggled to find suitable care for her autistic daughter, Emily.
New Hope now provides care for several children with complex needs and disabilities as well as offering support for parents and carers.
Jean said she was thrilled to be one of the 12 regional winners to collect her prize at the ceremony in London.
“I feel so happy that our charity is giving parents the respite they need to continue being good carers,” she said. “Most of all, I feel happy for Emily and the other children. Seeing them laugh and have fun on a day to day basis means the world to me.
“To be chosen as a regional winner for this award, I just think it’s amazing. It’s an honour.”
Laura Hamilton nominated her for the award as she said the children at the centre have benefited from a range of activities Jean has helped set up, including football, basketball and music therapy sessions.
“Jean is an inspiration as she is so hard working,” Laura said. “She gets so much pleasure from seeing the kids have fun at the activities. Often lack of transport makes things difficult but she finds ways around it. She is a great example of what parent power can do.”
Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said: “This award celebrates Jean’s inspiring courage and determination which have helped so many families through illness and hardship. Her bravery shows there is always reason for hope and optimism.
“There is so much unrecognised good work out there from people who do so much for others against all odds and the inspiring winners of the Family Heroes Awards remind us how important it is for us all to do our utmost to make a difference in our communities.”