Young disability campaigner Grace Warnock has received The British Citizen Youth Award in recognition of her Grace’s Sign campaign on raising awareness about the use of accessible toilets by people with ‘invisible’ disabilities.
The purpose of the BCYA programme is to recognise individuals who are making a positive contribution to their community, society or chosen cause, in the hope that it encourages them to continue and others to emulate their good deeds.
Twelve-year-old Grace, who is a pupil at Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans, has the bowel disease Crohn’s, and designed a door sign indicating the needs of people not visibly disabled. She did so to highlight that easily accessible toilets were not just for wheelchair users. The sign is now used at Edinburgh airport and other venues.
The schoolgirl recently attended the medal presentation ceremony for the prestigious award at a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster where she was joined by her mother Judith, grandma Rebecca, grandad John, and local MP, Martin Whitfield.
Judith said:“Receiving the award is such an honour for Grace and it recognises the work that she has been doing to raise awareness of invisible illnesses or disabilities and the issues that people face when travelling and going about daily activities like shopping and taking part in sport.
“This would not have been possible without those who have changed their signage and have shared Grace’s dream that no one should be judged just because their disability or illness can’t be seen.
“We would also like to say a huge thank you to Iain Gray MSP, as without his support at the start of this campaign this young lady would not have been able to make the changes and raise awareness that she has and will continue to do.” Martin Whitfield MP said: “I have had the privilege of following Grace’s campaign from the very beginning.
“She has taken an issue that was largely ignored previously and, through the creative idea of her sign, managed to give it a huge amount of positive publicity and helped increase public awareness.
“The campaign has been incredibly successful and Grace deserves a huge amount of credit for her idea and for having the drive to take it forward. Both Grace and the campaign have received widespread recognition over the last couple of years, but this prestigious award must rank as one of the greatest of the accolades she has been given.”
Mr Gray added: “The British Citizen Youth Award recognises young individuals for their positive impact on their community or society and for being role models in their communities. It is a great way of highlighting some of the many positive contributions made by young people across the UK.
“Grace fully deserves all of the recognition and praise she has received for her campaign and I am absolutely delighted that she has been presented with this distinguished award.”