Benjamin Thompson, who was described as a “real inspiration” to everyone at Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, received a Special Recognition Certificate in the Inspirational Young Talent category.
Benjamin was nominated by Connor from Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, who said: “I believe that through his actions, behaviour and attitude he is very worthy of recognition and in particular a worthy recipient of the award.
“Benjamin is 19-year-old and a real inspiration to all of us at The Foyle Down Syndrome Trust. He is a member of the 13-19 year-old age group that participates in various social and personal development activities here at FDST. I have witnessed how he is a role model, friend and real source of support for other young people with Down Syndrome.
“He is very much invaluable to the dynamic of this group and a natural motivator. Benjamin’s personality is infectious; he is there to pick someone up when they are feeling down as well motivating the group by showing passion and enthusiasm to every task he undertakes. He shines when he helps out other members of the group, from helping new members to settle in and make friends, to leading the group to make it a welcoming and safe space for all young people. In particular Benjamin is a rock of support to Ryan, one of the other members of the 13-19 age group.
“As well as helping Ryan get settled into the group, such as helping him with his coat and bag, he makes sure Ryan is comfortable at all times by including him in group discussions and helping him with various tasks.
“One minute he is helping Ryan with his knife skills while cooking, the next he is helping him with planting seeds in our outdoor garden or giving him a ‘pep-talk’ when Ryan is feeling tired.
“He is a true friend to Ryan and selflessly undertakes these tasks without being asked nor looking for praise or recognition. In short he is a role model for the young members of this group. Under Benjamin’s guidance, Ryan has flourished and grown in his confidence and communication skills.
“At the FDST we have witnessed the inspirational support that Benjamin provides to others. He has demonstrated the power of peer to peer working and uses every possible opportunity to enrich the lives of those he interacts with.
“Without Benjamin we would not be able to deliver the level of service we strive to provide to at Foyle Down Syndrome Trust. We would wholeheartedly recommend Benjamin as a worthy winner of this award.”