The recent nomination for the Scottish Social Services Awards held in the beautiful Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh, was without a doubt a huge achievement for Scottish Women’s Autism Network (SWAN). Being given the visibility and recognition it deserves alongside some of the countries most inspirational and positive organisations within the social services sector was an honour in itself. When announced the winner of the category ‘Head Above the Parapet’, it took our group of swans by surprise and we will still be processing the enormity of the moment for a long time.
A key milestone for SWAN
Mansfield Traquair is an architectural delight, and well suited for an event such as the awards ceremony. It has a sense of grandeur but also the murals and stained glass windows give a sense of intimacy and softness that cocoons the venue and gives a comforting warmth, mirroring the deep red and gold details displayed throughout. Attending and winning an award at the ceremony was not only what I believe will mark a key milestone in SWAN’s story, but also a significant milestone for me on a personal level; one which would not have been achievable without the work of SWAN.
Personal growth with SWAN
I never would have imagined even a year ago that I would have gained the confidence and understanding of myself to be able to travel to and attend an event like this. I am so pleased to have grown personally alongside SWAN as it has also grown with the expanding and authentic peer to peer support it provides for many women seeking to explore and understand their autistic identity. I see the winning of this award as an acknowledgment of the dedication involved, not only during the regular meet ups but on a daily basis by allowing autistic women and girls to know that we are not alone and we can walk together and support each other in all aspects of our lives, no matter what journey has led us to where we are today.
I hope that every time those involved in the heart of SWAN think about this award, they think about all the swans and their families who want to say thank you. Thank you for being you and for allowing so many of us to share our experiences together. We are ALL eternally grateful.