Rewarding work

Maria Yianni holding her Dignity in Care Award

The Dignity in Care Awards are an opportunity to shine a light on the vital role carers across Islington play in maintaining peoples’ quality of life – helping them retain their dignity, stay independent and do more of the things they want. Last year, Maria Yianni won the Volunteer of the Year Award for her work at Outcome. She tells us more about her role and what the award meant to her

Tell us about Outcome.

Outcome is Islington Mind’s LGBTQI+ specialist, community-led mental health project, run by LGBTQI+ people, with LGBTQI+ people. Our main aim is to provide a sanctuary for LGBTQI+ people – somewhere safe to socialise, free from discrimination or feeling like the ‘odd one out’, access therapies to improve mental health and enjoy learning new skills in a supportive atmosphere.

Based in north London, we can support anyone who identifies as LGBTQI+, from across London. We have a drop-in space where you can relax, in-person and online, or you can take part in activities such as art, creative writing, day-trips, and trans inclusive gender-specific groups.

We also have a specialist project for LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum and granted refugees called Freedom From Fear to Love. We meet every week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and are always open to new members.

What do you enjoy about working at Outcome?

I have been volunteering at Outcome for around three years and I love the community spirit it has – the safety felt by the people who use the service and the fact that Outcome is entirely led by the people who use it. I can honestly say there is no other service in London quite like Outcome. I feel Outcome is a sanctuary that is also felt by the people using the service.

What did it mean to you to receive the Dignity in Care award?

I was actually lost for words, which is rare for me. The recognition alone in being nominated was more than I could ever imagine, let alone the win. To be recognised for the work we do, and to be celebrated for it, is a feeling very hard to describe. I am so fortunate to be supported by a great team of volunteers and staff at Outcome.

Why are these awards so important?

The awards are very important to recognise the amazing work done within the community to support the community the best we can.

I know people may feel like their nomination may not get counted/recognised, but I am proof that all nominations are seen, and given care and consideration. It is an opportunity to let those you work with truly know how much their work is making the positive difference we all strive to make.

Do you know someone who deserves some recognition? Nominate them for a Dignity in Care Award! Nominations close Thursday 20 July. All shortlisted nominees will be invited to an awards ceremony at Islington Assembly Hall on Wednesday 13 September.

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