Inspirational stories of triumph over adversity were told at an awards ceremony for mental health champions.
The Shipley-based Cellar Trust, which helps people with mental health needs into work through training, qualifications and work placements, held its third annual Mental Wealth Awards at Valley Parade, Bradford, yesterday.
Among those recognised were the Cellar Trust’s former clients who had overcome serious challenges to find work, as well as the organisations who had offered to hire them or give them valuable work experience.
One of the former clients recognised was Alan Stevenson, who was left with mental health problems after suffering a viral infection in 2003.
He said through the Cellar Trust he had gained skills and work experience, and began to realise his own potential.
Mr Stevenson said two-and-a-half months ago he then found a job, as media and marketing manager with the Cellar Trust itself.
He said: “I am living proof that you can do it.”
Employment minister Esther McVey, a Conservative member of the coalition Government, was guest of honour and handed out the awards.
She said it was her job to scrutinise the nation’s employment figures, but this event had brought the numbers to life.
She said: “It’s not the numbers really, it’s what is behind the numbers and how it has changed people’s lives.
“When Alan said ‘I’m living proof you can do it’, everyone in this room is living proof you can do it.”
The award for Voluntary Provider of the Year went to Family Action.
The estates department of Bradford Teaching Hospitals was named Work Placement Provider of the Year, and the ceremony heard the team had taken on a Cellar Trust client for a long-term work placement as a gardener, who now had a permanent job with them.
Asda picked up the Employer of the Year award and Brian Charles of Making Space was named Mental Health Professional of the Year.
Two ‘Big Society’ awards were given out. The first went to Hazzad Embroidery and Promotional Gifts and the second went to the former trustees of the Bradford and District Association for Mental Health, which gave the Cellar Trust much-needed funding after it folded.
Marilyn Beech, chief executive of the Cellar Trust, said: “The Mental Wealth Awards always lift everyone’s spirits in the middle of a dark and miserable winter.
“It is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit.”