Finalist in national autism awards

Lorna Durrant from Nottinghamshire has been recognised at the National Autistic Society’s Autism Professionals Awards on 7 March, for her work improving care for autistic people.

Lorna, Group Autism Lead, was shortlisted as a finalist for the Award for Most Inspirational Social Care Professional. She was named as runner up in the awards ceremony at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.

The annual event, supported by headline sponsor Axcis Education Recruitment, was hosted by Jane Asher and Kate Fox and is part of a two-day conference for autism professionals. Jane is president of the National Autistic Society and Kate is an award winning stand-up poet. They handed out 15 awards to individuals and teams involved in education, health, social care, employment, community projects and volunteering. The finalists and winners were chosen by an independent panel of 10 autism experts who judged each nomination on their innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability.

Lorna started her career in autism as a support worker in 1989 and currently works as the autism lead at Eden Futures, which provides support services for autistic people, as well as people with learning disabilities, mental ill health and associated complex needs.

Her objective is to always make sure that autism is central to everything the organisation does. She launched Eden’s first Autism Strategy in 2016, with a clear vision to make Eden Futures the best provider of services for people on the autism spectrum.

Lorna is passionate about involving autistic people and families in the organisation’s decisions. As part of this, she has developed and facilitates an organisational Expert by Experience programme and a Partners Board.

Lorna Durant, Eden Futures group autism lead, said: “It’s a great privilege to be nominated for an Autism Professional Award and it was a huge surprise to be named as one of the finalists.

“I’m proud to work for such a forward thinking organisation. Eden Futures welcomes the views of autistic people. We had a great evening and met some amazing people.”

 Carol Povey, Director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, said: “A huge congratulations to Lorna. She should be very proud for standing out among so many high quality nominations and impressing the judges with her commitment to improving support for autistic people and families.

“Support and services in the UK are still far too patchy. We hope that sharing the stories of our winners and finalists, including Lorna’s, we will inspire other people and organisations – and give them some ideas about how they can make a real difference.”

For more information about the awards, winners and finalists,