An employee at Camphill MK, a community of adults with learning disabilities in the heart of Milton Keynes, has been named the winner of the Care Award at the prestigious 2022 Make A Difference Awards.
This annual event held by the BBC is designed to celebrate people who make life better for others, recognising unsung heroes who go above and beyond.
Ewa Maziarz moved to Milton Keynes from Poland 14 years ago with two children and worked for over a decade in local coffee shops and restaurants. Once her children grew older, she decided to refocus her career on her passion for helping people.
After joining Camphill MK as a support worker, she started fitness classes for residents, art and craft sessions in the evenings and dance exercise groups during the coronavirus pandemic, to keep residents active and healthy at a challenging time.
Since then, Ewa has introduced residents to horse riding, volunteered supporting residents on holiday, helped a resident relocating from Scotland with their anxieties and provided the wider Camphill MK community with access to activities such as trips to London, local safari parks and Harry Potter World. She is now completing her Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care, with the support of her employer.
The glamorous BBC Radio Three Counties awards night took place at The Grove Theatre in Dunstable this month, in conjunction with a network of awards running throughout September in each of the 40 local BBC Radio station regions. The station received almost 300 nominations across eight categories, including the Care Award where Ewa was named victorious.
On being announced as the winner of the Care Award, Ewa said, “I am very pleased and proud, but this is not only my merit. None of this would have happened had it not been for the support I have received since I started working at Camphill. I have never concealed that I love my work, we have a great opportunity to make the lives of others better, more interesting and safer. Sometimes we face big challenges but the satisfaction and joy after overcoming them are huge. Thank you once again for this award, it means so much.”
Tom Bridle, Registered Manager for Camphill MK, said, “This is an absolutely sensational achievement by a superstar Support Worker, who I'm proud is representing the Camphill community. Ewa is rightly being recognised for the outstanding contributions she makes to improve the lives of our residents. We could not be happier for her in receiving this well-deserved accolade.”
The founders of Milton Keynes invited the international Camphill movement to create homes in the city in 1980. A community was built in Willen Park and Pennyland for adults with learning disabilities and autism in a space that embraced the outdoors and creativity, whilst offering meaningful opportunities to all residents.
40 years on and Camphill MK is now home to 70 residents with a purpose-built theatre, a ceramics studio, weavery, bakery, allotments, and a café open to the public. These structures were originally built with local trades and a flock of volunteers. The charity is currently embarking on a £15m capital appeal to expand and upgrade its facilities, aiming to support even more people in future.