Times Change

Around this time last year (2019) Proud and Loud Arts (PLA) were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). This Award acknowledges our volunteers & their work with people living with disability labels. 

Our members celebrated by travelling down to Buckingham Palace to receive this honour (equivalent to an MBE), enjoying high tea with Her Majesty The Queen. 

How times have changed in 2020. 

However, although it seems dark we still have reasons to celebrate and Proud and Loud Arts’s members have pulled together online, showing great courage and leadership to support each other and their communities. 

This resolve has lead to another commendation. 

The Lord Lieutenant Acknowledges Toby

We’re proud to share that PLA member Toby (along with key staff), have been acknowledged by Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Sir Warren Smith KCVO KStJ JP. 

Toby, artist and long term PLA member, has been leading the way in supporting the community and bringing people together.

His work with other group members has been providing a crucial connection and generating positive thinking during a time of great worry. For 2 days each week Toby gathers together all his friends, family & community online.

But instead of a gruelling Zoom meeting that puts people to sleep, Toby turns up the volume on some upbeat classics and engages us with positive dance routines for all abilities.

“I know that people enjoy me leading the dance mornings, it’s been good to keep active, to choose different songs and have some fun. It’s been something to do in lockdown which has let us all keep in touch with each other until we can meet together again”.

Toby, Proud and Loud Arts Member
Toby leading some of the team

By popular demand Toby added a third weekly session extending the invitation to other groups working with people living with disabilities who’ve said,

“Toby is a confident leader… I like the way he chooses different songs each week”.

Amy, DIY Theatre Member

“It’s really good to join with Proud and Loud Arts … otherwise I’ve got nothing to do on a Monday morning  and I think they enjoy delivering it as much as we do taking part”.

Scott, DIY Theatre Member
Toby choreographing & rehearsing his dance mornings.

Toby’s efforts have really paid off and he was pleased to have recently received the letter applauding his work from Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, who wrote –

What you have achieved supporting people with disabilities in Greater Manchester and because of your leadership Proud and Loud Arts has continued to support some of the most vulnerable people in Greater Manchester to have a voice in their community during these challenging times has made a tremendous difference to the recovery in Greater Manchester”.

Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Sir Warren Smith KCVO KStJ JP

Alongside Toby key staff members also received letters of commendation including Board Member Michael Rollinson who helped guide our organisation through this time and Support Co-ordinator Jenny Battle whose tireless, virtual one-to-one support with members provided extra stability and connection. 

“The unprecedented period of lockdown has had a huge impact on both our staff and our members. As a group we felt it was important to maintain engagement and stay in contact with each other.  It has been a big challenge and we have had to be creative when trying to understand how to digitally support our members, it has kept us all very busy. I was really surprised and delighted to get this acknowledgement, I see it as recognition for the whole group and what we have achieved during this lockdown.”

Jenny, Support Co-Ordinator, Proud and Loud Arts