THE founder and chair of local charity LS29 has been recognised in the Yorkshire Women Volunteer Awards 2020.

Karen Goodman-Picken won the Care Volunteer Award which recognises the contribution of an individual within care and support who has shown great dedication for supporting vulnerable members of the community.

Karen is one of the founders of LS29 Special Needs Support Group and Outside the Box cafe in Ilkley (a community cafe offering training and employment skills for adults who have a learning disability). She is also mum to three adopted children who have Down’s Syndrome and she is a great advocate for disability rights.

Karen’s nomination read: “Karen puts in huge effort to secure funds so that families with children with additional needs can enjoy a host of activities and short breaks allowing them to spend time with similar families and to feel included when so often in everyday life it can feel incredibly lonely and non-inclusive. Karen encourages the families to be involved in the community and is an amazing example of what can be achieved with determination.”

One of the families in LS29 added: “Karen has had such an impact on our lives, she always makes time for others despite her own busy life, selflessly dedicates her energy and time to help others. She herself wants to give confidence to those families to push the boundaries out in their lives, to see potential and possibilities and develop inclusive communities.”

LS29 Charity Secretary Vicki Street said: “Huge congratulations to our Chair and one of the founding members of LS29, Karen Goodman, on winning the Care Volunteer Award at the Yorkshire Women Volunteer Awards 2020.

“Karen was thrilled to be nominated by Margaret Cook from the Ilkley Soroptomists and Mary Hamilton from Community Action Bradford and District. Karen is passionate about promoting the work of the LS29 Special Needs Group. Our charity is committed to raising awareness of disabilities and building inclusive communities, so children and adults with disabilities and their families are supported to experience a variety of activities and reach their potential to live their best lives. We are extremely grateful to Karen for the time, commitment and support she has selflessly dedicated to the charity and it’s members over the past 12 years - this award is so well deserved - on behalf of our families, many congratulations.”

Karen said: “Building an inclusive community around families like ours, and an awareness of disabilities is the driving force behind both groups. We want to create opportunities and support for young people to experience a variety of activities, live their best lives and reach their potential. Many young people in the original LS29 group are now reaching adulthood, and we will continue to develop. On the agenda for next few years are semi-independent holidays and employment services. Watch this space!

“Many thanks to Margaret Cook from the Ilkley Soroptomists and Mary Hamilton from Community Action Bradford and District for the nominations.”