Learning Disability Wales trustee Dawn Gullis is one of the most inspiring women in Wales

Dawn Gullis, Project officer with Cardiff People First and a trustee of Learning Disability Wales, has been named as one of Wales’ most inspiring women.

Dawn was recognised for her tireless work on disability hate crime and improving access to health support for women with a learning disability, receiving the title of Community Activist of the Year at the Womenspire Awards.

Organised by equality charity Chwarae Teg and held at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, the Womenspire Awards celebrates the personal and professional achievements of women across Wales.

Cerys Furlong, Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg, and a member of the Womenspire interview panel explained why Dawn was it was important to recognise Dawn's work as an advocate for people with a learning disability.

Cerys said: "Dawn is a true inspiration and advocate for women with learning difficulties. Her work has potentially saved lives and ensured that women are able to access the right support for their health needs."

Dawn said she was "shocked and surprised to win this award."

"I have worked for over 15 years with two wonderful organisations," said Dawn. "One is Mencap Cymru where I was a Campaigner for 12 years. Now in Cardiff People First, an organisation run by people with a learning disability, I am the Project Officer for the Pink Ladies Group.

"I would like to say thank you to these organisations and also a great thanks to the person who nominated me. I am so happy to win this award on behalf of people with learning disabilities to show them they can achieve anything they want to achieve."

Passion and commitment

Dawn was nominated for the award by Mair Rigby, Co-Director of the Women's Equality Network (WEN) Wales. Mair explained how Dawn has been such an inspiration to work with.

"I was delighted to nominate Dawn Gullis for the Womenspire Community Activist of the Year Award," said Mair. "I have worked with Dawn over the years and have always been incredibly impressed with her passion and commitment to standing up for the rights of people with learning disabilities.

"Dawn has really helped me gain a better understanding of hate crime and mate crime and issues for women with learning disabilities. I nominated Dawn for the award because I wanted her work to be publicly recognised in Wales".

Phil Madden, Chair of Learning Disability Wales, congratulated Dawn on her award:

"This is a wonderful achievement, and it's fantastic to see Dawn being recognised for her crucially important advocacy work. Dawn is an inspiration to us all."

Teachers, student midwives, activists, scientists, theatre directors, entrepreneurs and employers from across Wales were all shortlisted as finalists for this year's Womenspire Awards ahead of the celebration on 21 June at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

Chwarae Teg received over 300 nominations across the 12 categories recognising the extraordinary achievements many individuals and organisations have made in leading equality in their industry such as business, arts, sports, rural and education.

A carpenter, a chief inspector of police, and a BBC producer were among the other women honoured at the Womenspire Awards. The full list of winners is available at https://www.cteg.org.uk/womenspire-17     

Watch this video, made by Chwarae Teg, about Dawn Gullis and her advocacy work for Cardiff People First.