Fenland teaching assistant wins first 'Heart of Gold' Award
A teaching assistant at a Fenland school has been named as the first winner of a charity’s Hearts of Gold Award 2021.
Rachel Elliott, who works at Peckover School in Wisbech was nominated for a Linking Hands Charity UK’s Hearts of Gold Awards 2021, which are open to anyone from across East Anglia including Fenland, by parent Sarah Dodkin.
She and her husband Ben, nominated Rachel for her incredible work with their eldest son Finley who suffers from Battens Disease, a neurodegenerative disease during lockdown.
Sarah, who has two other sons, Arthur and Harrison, said: "Finley has two amazing teaching assistants, Rachel and Emma Thompson, and they are both incredible with him and his learning. We specifically nominated Rachel for her work with Finley during lockdown as she went above and beyond creating the work for him.
“As a team Rachel and Emma are amazing. Rachel is an incredible and vital cog in Finley’s learning. She has been his one to one for three years and has always been amazing but over lockdown we have seen first hand how amazing she is and how much time and effort goes into every lesson for Finley.
“Finley lost most of his sight a couple of years ago and struggles with the onset of childhood dementia but this hasn’t impacted his confidence, his ability to learn alongside his peers or learning to adapt to a new life and that is because of Rachel.
“She has learnt Braille alongside Finley and has trained herself in all sorts of techniques that allow her to adapt everything within the classroom so that Finley is always included completely. The work over lockdown she produces for Finley every single day is absolutely mind blowing.
“ She Brailles his work, records her voice so he can hear her asking questions or giving instructions. She creates tactile resources such as maps and grids and Finley has a variety of activities every single day to keep him motivated, engaged and on a level with his peers.
“She even spends weekends making him tactile games for him to play with his two brothers such as Ludo. Lockdown could have been a difficult and potentially life changing experience for Finley and he could have lost many of his skills taught at school but thanks to Rachel he has improved, excelled and loved it. Thank you Rachel you really have a heart of gold.”
Linking Hands Charity, which is a self-supported charity offering a range of free services such as bereavement counselling and cancer support, is run by Steven and Linda Schooling from Wisbech St Mary and they launched the awards last month to recognise anyone who has helped others during the pandemic.
With the awards, which have been sponsored by SCS Business Awards Ltd and WEP Fabrications, there will be a winner - or maybe more depending on nominations - each month up to November and then in December there will be overall winners chosen from the monthly winners.
Winners will receive a personalised mug and a plaque to mark their success.
To nominate your hero download an entry form from www.linkinghands.org.uk and email email@example.com.