Peer Tutor at Southdown

Southdown Peer Tutor takes centre stage at Supported Employment awards

Posted on 15 November 2023

Last night, Alice Brookes, Bank Peer Tutor at our mental health Recovery College, was awarded the winner of the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE) David Grainger Award.

The BASE Awards highlight best practice taking place across the UK using the supported employment model to change and enrich the lives of disabled, neurodivergent and disadvantaged people through good employment.

The David Grainger Award is presented to a disabled person who inspires other people to have high aspirations in employment, who has changed perceptions around what disabled people can achieve or progressed in their chosen career.

Alice, a former client of our Employment Support, co-teaches the Autism and Employment course (which she also co-developed) at our Brighton & Hove Recovery College. She recently shared her personal journey to joining our team in the foreword of our Business Strategy for 2023-28.

In addition, as part of her award submission, Alice produced a video, within which she shared,

“I am inspired by other people every day. I’m inspired by the experiences that our learners share in the classroom, and I love to use people’s feedback to make my courses better and to have a better understanding of autism.

I’m so different to the person that I was a year and a half ago. I had no idea what I was doing, had no direction and I didn’t really have any aspirations. But here today, I have big plans and I want to keep helping people and keep advocating for the people whom society often pushes to the margins. I want everybody to have a voice because we all deserve to be heard.

My path to where I am today has been rocky. There were times where I really thought that I was never going to do anything worthwhile with my life. That experience is what has made me good at my job now though because I’m able to say to my students that I’ve been where you are. I know what it feels like to feel useless and scared, especially when we’re talking about going into the workforce as a disabled person. I could have done with a helping hand so I want to be that helping hand for all the people that come to any of my courses.”

To watch Alice’s award submission video, visit our YouTube channel here. Fiona, her then Employment Specialist, features in the video too.

On behalf of our Executive team, Neil Blanchard, our Chief Executive, says, “Huge congratulations to Alice for winning the David Grainger Award. For me, this is the most prestigious award of the BASE ceremony as it is about how an individual has inspired others to have high aspirations in employment. This award stands as a brilliant testament to what Alice has achieved, so far!”

Paul Turk, Service Manager for our Employment and Education mental health services in Brighton & Hove, added, “Alice thoroughly deserves this award. Her journey from when she first connected with Southdown as a client of our Employment Support to now, as Peer Tutor at our Brighton & Hove Recovery College, is remarkable. Her confidence and willingness to try and take on new things has been transformative, which is a credit to Alice’s determination and resilience and the amazing support she’s had from Fiona, one of our Employment Specialists. In her role, as part of our Recovery College team, I couldn’t be more proud – Alice is a true inspiration and role model.”