Support Worker from Changing Lives presented with prestigious Churchill Medallion at London award ceremony - My CMS

A Support Worker from national charity Changing Lives’ Sunderland services has been awarded a Churchill Medallion and special award recognising his research into solutions to homelessness at the 2018 Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Awards Ceremony.

John Cassap, who is a Senior Recovery Worker for Changing Lives, attended the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) 2018 Awards Ceremony in London earlier this month, where he received a Churchill Medallion and the Viscount De L’Isle award for his learning into responses to homelessness in New Orleans and New York.

In 2016, John was granted a travel fellowship by WCMT and travelled to New York and New Orleans in the United States to find out more about how services over there have helped people experiencing homelessness, and in particular, veterans who are experiencing homelessness, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Speaking about his Fellowship, John said:

“Homelessness is an ever-growing issue both nationally and globally. I wanted to explore what was being done differently across the Atlantic and how they were making a positive impact on the issue.

“My travel overseas gave me new ideas for how we can improve things here in the North East. I learned about tailored support for homeless veterans in New Orleans and how they dealt with an unexpected rise of people living on the streets in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“Being a Churchill Fellow has been a life-changing experience, not only has it improved my knowledge and helped me in my profession, but it’s also helped me develop on a personal level.

“I’d urge anyone who wants to make a difference in their field to apply for a Churchill Fellowship.”

The purpose of the WCMT Fellowship programme is to create the opportunity for learning globally, giving frontline workers in the UK the opportunity to travel to any country in the world and gather information about how services similar to the ones they work in normally, in other countries, operate.

People who are awarded a travel fellowship are required to compile a research report to be submitted to WCMT once they return to the UK, which is then shared with other Fellows and accessible on the WCMT website to provide the opportunity for others to learn from the lessons learnt by the experience.

John was one of 150 people to be awarded a travel fellowship in 2016, out of over 1,000 applicants.

This year’s Churchill Medallions were presented by distinguished photojournalist Nick Danziger, whose career began with a Churchill Fellowship in 1982, where he travelled across Central Asia. 130 Churchill Fellows received their medallions at the 2018 biennial Churchill Fellows Award Ceremony at Church House in Westminster, which was Sir Winston Churchill’s temporary office during World War Two.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established following the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.  As Sir Winston’s national memorial, the Trust carry forward his legacy by funding UK citizens from all backgrounds to travel overseas in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of the current challenges facing the UK. Successful applicants are known as Churchill Fellows for life. No qualifications are required, just a project and the desire and motivation to improve their community, profession or field.

The Viscount De L’Isle award recognises exceptional fellowships, and is named after the former Governor of Australia and close ally to Sir Winston Churchill, William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L’Isle and winner of the Victoria Cross and holder of Knight of the Garter.

The Churchill Medallion is a unique piece designed by world-famous glass artist, Professor Brian Clarke, himself a Churchill Fellow of 1974. It features a digital image of Sir Winston Churchill in striking blue cloisonné enamel on a solid silver disc, with the Fellow’s name engraved on the reverse.

Professor Brian Clarke, explains:

“The digitised image of Sir Winston is drawn from the iconic portrait by celebrated photographer Yousuf Karsh, taken in 1941. It is intended to glow with the reflected light of the silver, through the transparent vitreous enamel.”

The applications for this year’s Travel Fellowships are now open on the WCMT website here.

To read John’s report from his Fellowship, ‘A Fresh Approach to Homelessness: Lessons From The United States’, click here.

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