Coldstream’s Marcia Lauder is one of six people across Scotland to be recognised for their ideas to help improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.
The first Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Lifetime Fellowship Awards were announced at a ceremony at the George Hotel in Edinburgh as part of this year’s Learning Disability Week.
Marcia, described as a community activist, created a social group for people with learning disabilities called Borders Buzz.
It was set up to help people with learning disabilities meet new friends and become more independent, and as Borders Buzz develops, she has plans to widen the social activities members become involved in – currently dating and friendship nights, outings, workshops, an internet radio station and a newsletter.
And if all goes well, she would like to register it as a charity.
Marcia said: “I set up Borders Buzz to help people with learning disabilities get out and make friends.
“People with and without learning difficulties get on really well and can learn from each other.
“When I got the phone call about the RSA, I was flabbergasted and very proud of myself.
“It will help make the group bigger, better and encourage others to come along. It shows people what they can achieve.”
The awards scheme has been led by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) in partnership with the RSA.
All six winners were ambitions for change, not just for themselves but for other people with learning disabilities in their communities and across Scotland.
Chris Creegan, chief executive officer of SCLD, said: “As an RSA fellow, I know first hand the incredible benefits and transformative potential of the fellowship.
“Our search for six new fellows aims to encourage a change in attitudes.
“We know that having a learning disability is no barrier to creativity, entrepreneurship or a desire to make the world a better place. Society’s attitudes to learning disability can be, though.
“We’re excited about celebrating the success of our competition winners and about working with them to realise their creative potential to effect social change in Scotland.”
Jamie Cooke, head of RSA Scotland, said: “Working in partnership with SCLD to involve people with learning disabilities in our fellowship network has been a great experience for us.
The ideas presented by these new fellows will make a real difference to their communities.
“We’re looking forward to developing the partnership and supporting our new fellows with their ideas.”