The BAPS Blogging Awards Evening
Sometimes you have to write a post but you just don’t know how to begin. This is one of those posts. There is so much to tell you about the evening, but of course, you all want to know who the winners were, so we will start there.
The BAPS Blogging Awards – The Winners
Picking up two awards – The Truth about SEND and Promoting Positive Perceptions – was the very lovely “Don’t be sorry”
The best Newcomer award went to “Joseph and his Amazing Spectrum Coat”
The winner of our Campaigning for Change award went to the aptly named “Mum on a Mission”
SEND with a side dish of humour, something we all need, was won by the very amusing “Stories about Autism”
Our final award – Practical Support for Families – went to an organisation rather than a parent blogger. This award went to the very supportive PDA Society
Congratulations to everyone who walked away with an award, but let’s not forget all the amazing bloggers who were nominated. Every one of them should be proud that another parent thought enough of their blog to take time out of their busy, chaotic life to nominate them.
We were so lucky to have the very lovely, very amusing Sally Phillips, as our host for the evening. Her experience of being a SEND parent meant that a much more personal approach was brought to the event, and so many of the bloggers have commented on how much they enjoyed the mini interviews each winner had with her.
It was also entertaining when Sally received a FaceTime call from her son in the middle of the awards ceremony. Obviously, we all laughed and then we all felt total sympathy for her when he asked if she could “come home, please”.
For many of our bloggers, it was the first time away from their children or at least not a regular occurrence, so we were all sat hoping everyone was ok at home and his little plea touched all of us.
So many people gave up their time to read through all the nominations and help choose the finalists for the event. One of them told me at the Awards how he actually went into the office on three Sundays just to read them in peace because he didn’t want to just rush into a decision.
So we wanted to say a huge thanks to Brian Lamb, Phil Brayshaw, Elaine Maxwell, Kirsty Phillipson-Lowe, Angela Kelly, Steph Curtis, Stephanie Nimmo, Yvonne Newbold, Jeannette Cripps, Jo Henley, Emma Murphy and of course my partner in crime at Bringing Us Together, Katie Clarke.
The time you have all taken to help us get this off the ground has been so much appreciated.
Where would we be without them? We were lucky enough to have three amazing organisations sponsor either individual awards or the drinks reception. Each of them has not just said to families “we support you”, they have also shown their support for an event that meant so much to the SEND Blogging community.
So please say a big thank you to Choice Support, Walsingham Support and Kuradocs. Their support has really helped make this idea a reality and we so appreciate it. The parents who were at the event have been chatting about how much their involvement meant to the event, feeling supported and celebrated by non bloggers was something they all enjoyed.
None of this would have been possible without the hours and hours of input, planning and organisation from My Family Our Needs. From the minute I approached them to ask if they would like to be involved in taking this from an idea to reality, they have been on board. I can assure all of you who are saying thanks to me, that the thanks needs to go to the guys at My Family Our Needs who have done the work behind the scenes. The evening surpassed all expectations and I spent most of the night with family bloggers saying “please say we are going to do this again, this was amazing”. So a big thanks to all at My Family Our Needs, with a special thanks from me to Lisa who had to chase me up, wait for responses but totally understood that my own blog, Chaos in Kent, is called that for a good reason.
I am currently collating feedback from the bloggers and will share all of it in a future post but here is an example of what to expect.
“For me it was not just about recognising SEND blogger but chatting and meeting the other bloggers we spend interacting with sometimes more than our real friends. Speaking to them that night knowing we are all fighting the same things, same school, care issues etc”
“No one has attempted Awards for the SEN community before and it was great speaking to a man whose son was Autistic and then after seeing James win and talk, this dad started a blog that night!!!!!! Very very impressive”
“It was a fantastic celebration of some of the best SEND writers, campaigners and supporters, who really just want other people to know that families like ours exist. It was so well put-together and we didn’t want for anything on the night itself. The best parts for me were cheering on the winners, but, most of all, meeting people! Putting faces to blog names and making new friends who just ‘get it’.”
“A guy came and spoke to me before dinner, and it really made me realise just how powerful what we all do really is. It does make a difference, and for that to be recognised rather than just feeling like an add on at a regular blogging awards, was really special”
“The way Sally spoke and interviewed the winners on stage . That really was fab. At other ceremonies it’s usually get on stage , pick up your award , smile for the camera and go but hearing the winners talk about why they blog, their feelings etc it was great.”
“It was great to see the sponsors and other providers there, sitting with us and cheering us on as much, if not more, as the other bloggers in the room. I felt like I was part of a team, and not them v us, for the first time”
It has to be hearing three people commit to starting a blog that evening. Three people who have lots of information and experience to share but have never blogged.
One blog post can change the day a parent is having. When you read a post you can relate to and it makes you feel less isolated, or more informed, then suddenly you feel like you can move forward.
Inspiring three parents to blog just by attending our first event is something I am incredibly proud of and there must be something in the air, because I have also had two approaches via Facebook this weekend about how to start a blog.
We are now going to run some posts on starting a blog and some blogging tips to help new bloggers and old bloggers alike. Watch this space as they will be starting this week.
It was a great evening and I am so very proud to have played a part in taking it from a chat in a Facebook group to the reality of a fun-filled, entertaining evening with so many bloggers being recognised.
How could we not do it again? It was such a huge success, we even managed to trend on Twitter that evening, which considering the Tory Manifesto was released that day was pretty spectacular.
Watch this space and we will keep you posted on developments.
If you are a provider reading this and would like to chat about sponsorship for next year, then please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN.
Transplanted from the NW to the SE.
Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together