To mark the end of out 35th anniversary year, as we reflect on our journey of becoming the North East Autism Society and the many lives which have been transformed, supported and empowered over more than three decades, we can’t help also celebrate the biggest asset we have – our staff.

To recognise the fantastic work of our staff across the whole Society we staged our first “Star Awards” event at Sunderland Football Club's, Stadium of Light on Thursday 28th April. The awards evening was attended by over 200 staff and volunteers from across the society and compèred by former editor of The Northern Echo, Peter Barron.

John Phillipson, CEO said:

I am incredibly proud of what the Society has achieved and that is because of the outstanding people we have with us. The North East Autism Society isn't built on the talents of a few but rather the skills and contributions of many. The Star Awards is our way of recognising just that, and to say thank you to every single member of staff. Together we really are changing lives. 

Our Chairman; Gavin Bestford spoke movingly about the support the Society had given his own son, thanking the staff for their "incredible care and commitment."

The evening started with good luck video messages to staff from; Pam Royle (News Presenter/Journalist), Steve Cram (British Athlete), Sir Peter Vardy (The Vardy Foundation) and Jermain Defoe (Sunderland AFC).

Star Awards 2016

The 2016 winners are:

  • Exceptional Team Member - Kayley Percy, Children's Residential
  • Unsung Hero - Denise Ramak, Adult Short Breaks
  • Contribution to Training - Keith Stubbs, Children's Residential
  • Innovative and Creative Solutions - Lisa Murphy, Central Services
  • Best Collaboration/ Partnership Working - Learning Support Assistants, Thornbeck College
  • Rising Star - Ashleigh Pike, Children's Residential
  • Inspirational Volunteer - Mellissa Mustard, Volunteer at Thornhill Park School
  • Outstanding Leadership - Deb Fleetham, Children's Residential
  • Chairman’s Award - Dave Iley, New Warlands Farm

Well done to all the finalists and winners. We would like to thank our sponsors, judges, trustees and to all the staff at NEAS who supported the event and made it a night to remember.