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Lela Patterson, Swansea MAD

Lela has made an outstanding contribution to youth work through volunteering with a wide range of organisations and projects including, Raise Your Voice, NYAS and the State of Mind project.

As part of BGC Wales and Swansea MAD’s Raise Your Voice project, Lela has highlighted the barriers that young people who are blind or partially sighted face when trying to participate in the democratic process and she continues to advocate for improved accessibility and inclusion. Lela was also a founding peer mentor on Platfform’s State of Mind programme (supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing), providing consultation on accessibility and has supported NYAS in developing inclusion strategies.

Currently, Lela is a member of the Camerados group in Barry Island where she meets every week with a group of young people to create community connection and to minimise isolation and loneliness. The project has grown from 4 founders to 25 people and Lela has been pivotal in shaping how people feel welcomed.

The judging panel commended Lela for her knowledge, passion and commitment to raising awareness of disability rights. She is an incredible change maker who creates a safe, non-judgemental space in which people can learn, leading to positive changes in attitudes, language and practice.