Student receives special award for raising awareness of learning disabilities

Swansea University BSc mental health nursing student Mitchell Richards has been given a special recognition award from the Paul Ridd Foundation for his efforts in raising awareness of learning disabilities.

Mitchell RichardsPaul Ridd’s story has inspired Mitchell’s work. The Foundation was formed following the death of severely-disabled Paul Ridd at Morriston Hospital in 2009.  It was found that neglect and lack of training were contributory factors leading to his death.  The Foundation supports people with a learning disability and their families and carers and raises awareness of the issues disabled people face when accessing good health care.

Mitchell is currently working towards gathering 5000 signatures for a petition to make learning disability training mandatory for all health care workers. 

Speaking about receiving the award, Mitchell said: “I feel so humble and appreciative of accepting a special recognition award from The Paul Ridd Foundation. I am so grateful for the amazing work the Foundation has achieved, which means individuals with a learning disability will receive better healthcare with reasonable adjustments put in place. The awareness they have raised is tremendous and I am so proud to be a part of the great work they have delivered and excited to be involved in future ventures.”

Jonathan Ridd and Jayne Nicholls are Paul Ridd’s brother and sister, and formed the Paul Ridd Foundation.  They both work on a voluntary basis for the Foundation, which is managed by Charity Projects Manager, Debbie Shawe.  Jonathan said: “Jayne, Debbie and I think Mitch is an inspirational young man. He has continuously inspired us through his passion and dedication, showing a genuine desire to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.”

Catherine Williams is Programme Director for Pre-Registration Nursing at Swansea University.  She said: “The department of Nursing is absolutely delighted to see Mitchell winning this award for his outstanding work in supporting the Paul Ridd Foundation and raising awareness of learning disabilities within the college.  Not only has he excelled in practice, he has also devoted his own time in helping to make a difference for people with a learning disability, by raising general awareness of the issues they face when accessing good health care. At every opportunity, Mitchell supports events and fundraises to support the Foundation. He recently gathered a group of friends together to go and collect over 500 signatures for an e-petition at the same time as fundraising. This is a tremendous achievement for Mitchell and is testament to his hard work and dedication. Without doubt, he has all the values and qualities we expect to see in a nurse and he will be an asset to the profession and the nursing programme.”

Pictured: Mitchell Richards with his award