The winners of the Transport for All Award 2018 have just been announced.
On the 27th January, during our Biennial General Meeting, we ran the second round of Transport for All Awards; the only awards in the UK celebrating and recognising the work and achievements of those who have campaigned or made a significant contribution towards making transport more accessible.
It is a privilege to work with such inspiring people whose passion and tenacity make a real difference in improving transport services for disabled and older people.
First Make a Noise Award to Chris Stapleton
The first award is the Make a Noise Award given out to two campaigners.
The first winner is Chris Stapleton; a TfA member and activist who has tirelessly put in complaints when he has been let down by bus services – in particular drivers ignoring the blue button. How vitally important it is that bus companies know if their services are failing us – and the winner of this award has definitely made sure that happens. Now on his 99th complaint about this one issue, he has managed to appear on numerous TV news reports as well as in The Evening Standard and The Guardian. Through his complaints, we have also won improvements to TfL’s complaints systems. He has also lobbied for dropped kerbs and improvements to the step-free Tube map.
Receiving this award, Chris said:
“Thank you for this honour. If we don’t make a noise the transport operators will be smugly sitting on their hands imagining everything is OK, so please let’s all make a noise all the time when things go wrong.”
Second Make a Noise Award to Dr. Amit Patel
The second Make a Noise Award was given to Dr. Amit Patel who has used social media to raise the profile and voice of guide dog users and visually impaired people.
Through his Twitter account in the name of his guide dog Kika who goes everywhere with him with a video camera attached to her, our winner has been able to capture the experiences that visually impaired Londoners and guide dog users face every day.
Whether it’s CBS News, Evening Standard, Metro, The Independent… our winner has made lots of headlines.
Amit said a few words while accepting the award:
“Thank you for the award. I lost my sight very quickly about 5 years ago; so transport was a challenge. You don’t know who or what is around you, so we started using a camera and we saw the good and the ugly. If you don’t make a noise about those issues who will listen? I can be loud. There have been many changes and differences made for helping people like me. So if you have trouble, social media is great for airing views and meeting others like you.”
Campaign Success Award to Anne Wafula Strike MBE
The next award went to Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike, who has campaigned and lobbied vociferously on an issue that affects us all and forms the basis of human dignity; the right to accessible conveniences when travelling. With our train companies raking in handsome profits for their shareholders and hiking up fares every year, surely this is something we should all expect as a given.
When this Paralympian was faced with an appalling situation where this wasn’t the case – she took on the train industry, the government, and highlighted this issue right across the media. Her campaign was an inspiration!
“It’s good to see you and I think we all deserve this as everyone here knows how hard it is to travel. As a disabled woman I realised that it is important to speak out and not be silent. In these days of austerity Disabled people are scapegoats and if we keep silent we will be put in a box on a high shelf, never to emerge, so today, thanks to you all for constantly campaigning, as without transport we cannot be empowered or get jobs or socialise. I am passionate about the issue; we now need to be louder so people hear us. Thanks.”
The Maggie Sarragne Outstanding Contribution Award to Faryal Velmi
Finally, as announced by our Chair Alan Benson during the BGM, we decided to award our own Director Faryal Velmi with The Maggie Sarragne Outstanding Contribution Award.
After ten successful years, Faryal is stepping down; and we felt that her contribution over this long period has been so incredible we could not let her leave Transport for All without marking it.
Alan Benson gave a vibrant tribute to Faryal. He explained that when the news came that Faryal was leaving, many people from all over London told us what a difference she had made.
She has been a director for 10 years, and before that campaigns officer. Faryal is a natural campaigner, and knows what a good cause is and how to fight for it. She is good at engaging with authorities; spending hours influencing decision makers and government – these are high profile things you may see or not but that make a huge difference. One of her true strengths is that she believes in grass roots local activism – she is never happier than attending local protests, even in very cold weather.
It is important to say that Faryal joined Transport for All when it was in dire straits, living from hand to mouth, desperate for funding.
Maggie Sarragne was a major 50s/60s film and television star and her legacy to us has really given Transport for All some certainty in uncertain times, so it has outlasted her as a person.
Special mention to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, DBE, DL
The board of Trustees also wanted to give a special mention to Dame Tanni Grey Thompson for all her work in the House of Lords and on the board of Transport for London.
Since you’re here …
… we have a small favour to ask. Transport for All is proud to be an independent grassroots charity and we depend on donations and support from our members. Every day Disabled and older people have their lives restricted (or even become housebound) because transport services fail them. Take action so that everyone can access buses with independence