This year we celebrate our 70th anniversary. As part of a year of celebration, we're launching the Mencap Journalism Awards, to encourage discussion and raise awareness of issues surrounding learning disability.

Although a lot has changed in the last 70 years, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the challenges that people with a learning people face and to help change attitudes towards learning disability.

We want to encourage the journalists of tomorrow to write about issues surrounding learning disability, as well as allowing those with a learning disability to have a greater voice in the media.

This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring journalists aged 26 or under to have your work reviewed by some experienced journalists on our judging panel, as well as getting your writing published. We're also offering some fantastic cash prizes to our winners and runners up. 

This competition has now closed and we have announced the winners.

The winners

We invited aspiring journalists aged 26 and under to submit their entries to one of two categories; broadcast journalism or print journalism.

In the broadcast category we asked entrants to submit a piece of broadcast material between 3 and 5 minutes long, suitable for broadcast on radio, television or online. In the print category we asked entrants to submit an 800 to1000 word article; either a news, investigative, interview or feature piece that would be appropriate for publication in tabloid, broadsheet or a consumer outlet. We also asked that entries explored learning disability and the topics that are of relevance to the work and ethos of Mencap.

Click on the name of each winner to view their entry.

Broadcast journalism winners

Jennifer Smith

Jennifer put people with a learning disability right at the centre of her piece, a style which we know is the most effective at helping to challenge misconceptions and improve attitudes towards learning disability.

Emma Purcell

Emma's piece on Treloar's Trust explored how society's attitudes and actions, however large or small, can have an immense impact on disabled people. Emma's piece urged listeners to rethink their own behaviour towards people with a disability. 

Print journalism winners

Rebecca Fisher - Still You

Rebecca's piece featured a poignant use of language around the mix of emotions and experiences families of children with a learning disability experience after birth. Her writing was universally praised by all of our judges.

Shaista Hussain - It's Good to See You

A thorough interviewing style and clever eye for a less obvious angle allowed Shaista to give a greater voice to people with a learning disability by looking at a theatre group.

Liam Bryce - Football for All: The Rise and Rise of Greenock United

Liam's piece was a tale of how one committed support worker has used football to transform the lives of people with a learning disability.

The prizes

We've got some fantastic cash prizes available to the winners and runners up of each category.

A cash prize of £1000 will be awarded to the winners of each category.

£700 will be awarded to the runner up in each category. 

£500 will be awarded to those in third place of each category.

Mencap will also use the winning submissions on their website, and in other PR activities. Mencap will retain publishing rights to all entries made.

We'll invite all winners to a prize giving ceremony at Mencap's head office in London, attended by all the judges in our prestigious panel.

The judges

Our judging panel combines experts from the fields of journalism and learning disability. To receive expertise and insight from these individuals is a fantastic, money-can't-buy opportunity.

Jan Tregelles

Jan began working for Mencap in 1996, and is now our CEO. She believes families should be placed at the centre of our work. 

Jan is an authentic, warm and approachable voice who is extremely knowledgeable of her subject.

Ciara Lawrence

Ciara has dedicated her life to campaigning for people with a learning disability to have a greater voice in mainstream society.

From having meetings with the Chief Executive of ITV, to being interviewed for the BBC's 10 o'clock news, Ciara is one of the most active spokespeople with a learning disability in the UK.

Roger Alton

Roger is a seasoned journalist who has worked at the majority of the country's leading newspapers.

He started his career at the Liverpool Post before joining the Guardian where he worked for 22 years before being appointed Editor of The Observer. Roger then simultaneously worked as a Sports Columnist for The Spectator and as Editor of Independent -  a post he held for 2 years before being appointed Executive Editor of The Times in 2010. He now holds an executive position at the Daily Mail. 

Sir Nicholas Lloyd

Sir Nicholas started his career as a reported at the Daily Mail in 1964. He was then Education Correspondent at The Sunday Times and made its Deputy News Edtior in 1968.

He later returned to The Su, where he was made Assistant Editor before joining the Sunday Mirror in 1980 at Deputy Editor.

He edited Sunday People until 1983 then moved to edit the News of the World, and finally to the Daily Express from 1986 to 1995.

Lloyd received a knighthood in the 1990 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours. He presented a breakfast show on LBC 97.3 from 1997 to 1999. Since 1996 he has been the Chairman of the PR consultancy for BJL London.

Kate Spicer

Kate is a journalist and documentary maker. Her work has appeared in many newspapers, magazines and on web titles, including most recently: The Sunday Times, Financial Times, Wallpaper and The Pool.

One of her documentaries, Mission to Lars, which was released in cinemas around the world, told the story of her brother Tom who has a severe learning disability caused by Fragile X Syndrome, and his quest to meet the drummer of Metallica. 

Alex Miller

Alex is Creative Director for VICELAND, working with the VICELAND international executive team on VICE's expanding series of television networks.

Alex has worked at VICE for over 8 years, most recently as VICE's Global Head of Content. Under his tenure VICE UK's journalism and video content won a series of awards including Miller himself being named as Editor of the Year 2015 (Online Media Awards).

Miller has presented and produced investigative news documentaries from around the world, ranging from protests in Venezuela, to the rise of the far right in the UK, to the brutal fallout of the economic crisis in Greece.

Colin Rogers

Colin has worked as a writer, director, producer and executive producer for BBC TV and ITV. He was Head of Scripts for ATV, Deputy Head of BBC TV Drama (Series & Serials) and Controller of Drama for Meridian, a company he helped to found.

Colin’s own company, Deco Films, has produced both TV drama and films. Colin has also run an EU-financed film fund, taught a Master’s degree in Professional Writing and been Country Director for BBC Media Action in both India and Nigeria, running large international development projects which included training and support for local journalists in reporting issues ranging from HIV/AIDS to financial corruption.

Outside of his media work, Colin was Vice-Chair of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly NHS Primary Care Trust from 2005 to 2008 and a co-opted trustee of Mencap until he regretfully stood down in 2014 having served the maximum eight-year term.

Useful documents

Download the following documents to find out more about the Mencap Journalism Awards:

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