On 1st October Thomas Whitelaw received the Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing from Age Scotland at its annual Scottish Parliamentary Reception. See the video for Tommy’s speech, in which he pays tribute to his mother, and to love stories.
Tommy gave up an established career to become the sole carer for his mother in the five years she had dementia right up until her death in September 2012. While he was looking after his mum he began campaigning on behalf of dementia sufferers and their carers. With support from The Alliance (Health and Social Care Alliance) undertook a marathon walk across Scotland in 2011, ‘Tommy on Tour’, attempting to raise awareness, inviting carers across the nation to contact him with their stories, and lobbying politicians and influential people. He made excellent use of a daily blog to publicise his tour and carers’ stories, which he intends to continue. He created and promoted a DVD – ‘It’s okay to ask for help.’
Tommy is now invited to talk to audiences including journalists, students, healthcare providers and politicians, and has raised awareness that behind a diagnosis of dementia is a person with a rich life history.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief, Executive said: “This Award is truly well deserved. Tommy has demonstrated tenacity and creativity in his campaign, and genuinely helped change perceptions and attitudes towards people with dementia and their carers.”
The Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing is sponsored by McCarthy and Stone. It is given to an individual or group who’s campaigning has highlighted a specific issue and affected change to the benefit of older people.
Jess Barrow was Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Age Scotland’s predecessor charity, Age Concern Scotland. She campaigned widely for the rights of older people and was a lifelong contributor to the third sector. Jess passed away in 2007 at the age of 44. She is survived by her husband, Gordon Russell, and their two sons, James and Calum, who was there to help present the award.
Congratulations also to runners up:
- Grey Matters
- Viewpoint Housing Association
- Woodlands Senior Citizens Club