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ENABLE Scotland > Blog > Posts > ENABLE Scotland member shortlisted for prestigious charity award
May 04
ENABLE Scotland member shortlisted for prestigious charity award

Bill Learmonth with his daughter, Lesley.Bill Learmonth from Ballieston has been shortlisted to receive a prestigious Charity Champion award at the Annual Scottish Charity Awards. 73 year old Bill, who is a retired businessman, has devoted 43 years of his life to ENABLE Scotland and to campaigning to improve the lives of people who have a learning disability.

Peter Scott, Chief Executive of ENABLE Scotland explains the background to Bill’s involvement with the charity: “When Bill’s daughter Lesley was born in with Down’s Syndrome in 1968, he joined the Scottish Society for the Mentally Handicapped (SSMH), which is now ENABLE Scotland, to gain support and information from other parents.  This was the start of 43 years occupying a variety of high profile voluntary positions, including chairman, within the charity.  Bill Learmonth is well regarded as a champion for people who have a learning disability and their families throughout Scotland. He is a forthright campaigner and has been a driving force behind the development of ENABLE Scotland.

"Over the years Bill has been a great support and friend to the countless families and individuals he has assisted. Bill has an incredibly warm personality and I know that of our 4,000 members, the majority will have met Bill or heard him speak at some point, being touched by his drive and vision to improve the lives of people who have a learning disability. I cannot thank him enough for the support he has given to the organisation and me personally and I am delighted that Bill has been shortlisted for the Charity Champion Award”.

In the early days Bill was a key campaigner for the closure of long stay hospitals for people who had a learning disability. Access to education is another issue that Bill has campaigned on over the years. When Bill’s daughter was of school age the option given to families was ‘Occupational Centres’, which aimed to provide practical skills but no formal education. Bill fought hard for Lesley and other children to be given access to a formal education. Bill has also helped ENABLE Scotland campaign for improvements in health and raise awareness of the issues of bullying.

Bill has long recognised that people who have a learning disability need to have their own voice, which led him to help ENABLE Scotland set up various self advocacy groups.

Bill, who until 2000, ran a successful business, is married and has two daughters.

This year SCVO have introduced the People’s Choice – Heart & Soul Award, giving members of the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite shortlisted organisation or person. To vote for Bill simply visit the SCVO website.

The winners of the Annual Scottish Charity Awards will be announced on 14 June 2012 at the Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow.

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