Local Mencap support worker, Lesley McCormack, was honoured yesterday (Wednesday 25th May) with an invitation to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Lesley was chosen following her outstanding contribution to society during the pandemic.
Yesterday, Lesley – who lives in Liverpool and has dedicated 16 years to supporting people with a learning disability at Mencap in the Wigan area – was recognised for her positive impact in the community with a trip to Buckingham Palace where she met HRH the Countess of Wessex, the charity’s royal patron.
Immensely passionate about her job in social care, Lesley, 38, was honoured for going above and beyond through the pandemic; taking extra shifts when people were isolating, picking up shopping and dropping off food parcels and PPE to those who needed it – or just touching base with other carers to ensure they were okay.
Lesley even gave up Christmas Day with her family in order to be there for the people with a learning disability who she supports.
Lesley said: “It was so exciting and such an honour to go to Buckingham Palace. I feel incredibly proud to do the job I do and am really pleased to be recognised in this way.”
Many of the people that Lesley supports struggled to understand what was happening as lockdown began, so finding new ways to ensure people were happy and well was critical. And with everyone’s routine being lost – something which can be so important to people with a learning disability – Lesley became a driving force in innovating, even creating a pop-up restaurant at the Mencap supported living service.
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which affects someone for their whole life, and many people with a learning disability rely on some form of social care support in their lives. For example someone with a severe learning disability might need full-time care while someone with a mild learning disability may need support with everyday tasks – for example shopping, cooking or managing money.
Edel Harris, Chief Executive at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “Our vision at Mencap is for the UK to be the best place in the world for people with a learning disability to live happy and healthy lives, and Lesley embodies those values. We know that with the right support, people with a learning disability can live brilliant, fulfilled, and independent lives – and the provision of high-quality social care support is key to this. People who choose to work for Mencap, like Lesley, play an incredibly valuable role in society and I am so pleased that Lesley’s selfless contribution through the pandemic is being recognised.”
Photo shows Mencap support worker Lesley McCormack pictured with Mencap’s CEO, Edel Harris