I was very happy to receive a call from the Cabinet Office letting me know that we were todays - 2nd September 2014 - winner of the Points of Light award. The Points of Light award recognises outstanding individuals - people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
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Below is the great Press Release sent out today to various newspapers and radio stations:
Prime Minister names super Claudia ‘Point of Light’
A Winchester super-woman who has created capes for young ‘superheroes’ who have faced devastation across the globe is the winner of a new volunteering award, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
Twyford’s Claudia Beard makes and donates capes to children facing tough times around the world to help them recapture their childhoods. From children lying in hospital beds, to those orphaned by natural disasters such as last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, Claudia’s capes give small children facing great loss the “power” to enjoy their childhood again. The project stems from a simple idea to help the most vulnerable feel invincible.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Of course when disaster hits children need urgent support to be safe and secure. But as lives are rebuilt in the aftermath of horrific incidents like last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, an initiative like ‘Super Capes’ helps children be children. Claudia’s work brings joy to children during some of the toughest times. I am delighted to award her with a Point of Light for the work she is doing to put smiles on young faces across the globe.”
Following the devastation in the Philippines caused by the typhoon that hit last November, Claudia and a friend began a collection of supplies to help the hundreds of thousands of people without homes or food. Claudia then discovered the story of a woman in America who sews capes for children to re-ignite their imaginations and lift their spirits, so in January 2014 she embarked on her own quest, giving children a moment of respite from what was going on around them, a reason to play instead of growing up too fast.
Since Claudia’s cape crusade began, she has encouraged many others to hunt for material and pick up their sewing kits, including Year 8 and 9 textile classes, her social media following of over 1,500 people and local residents. She has so far sent 21 capes to children in the Philippines, opened a pop-up sewing shop in Winchester that created 40 new capes and has embarked on a challenge for the Red Cross, to make 600 capes for a children’s hospital in Cape Town. Claudia is also doing a skydive in October to raise more funds to help children in desperate need.
Claudia is the 99th winner of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
The award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. , Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.
“I was so delighted to get a call from the Cabinet Office to let me know that my charity is the recipient of the Point of Light Award. What we do is such a simple concept but brings a lot of happiness to these little heroes that are battling through some sort of hardship. I really appreciate the recognition and am so grateful to be working with some amazing inspirational heroes.”
Steve Brine MP said:
“Real superheroes don’t of course wear outfits or fly through the sky unaided but they do intervene in peoples’ lives and show the best of human kindness. Claudia has done just that and I’m thrilled her hugely impressive achievement has been recognised by the PM. This project is yet another example of the big society we are lucky to have in spades in Winchester.”
David G. Stephens, Executive Director at The Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Cape Town said:
“The small patients at the Red Cross War memorial Children’s Hospital are there because they are very sick, and need specialist intervention. They need all the support from family and friends to help them through this difficult period. The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association strives to relieve both patient and family of some of that anxiety, and to make them feel special. Claudia Beard will be partnering with us in December 2014, to make these sick children feel like SUPER-HEROES. This will inevitably boost their images and allow them to dream big just like other healthy children”