Laughter and chatter filled the room as staff, support workers, colleagues and friends gathered for one of our most inspiring events of the year – the 2019 Customer Celebration. Look Ahead’s customers are incredible and this is an opportunity to recognise customers who stand out of the crowd, due to their contribution to the community, often after overcoming great challenges in their own lives.
One of the marks of Look Ahead is co-production, and this event was no exception. Customers and staff worked collaboratively to shape the event – from choosing the venue, selecting workshops, food choices, presenting awards and providing entertainment.
With six categories, we received countless nominations from across our services; it was so hard to choose from the incredible nominees. Our judges shortlisted three nominees for each category and each winner received an award to mark their achievement from Chris Hampson, Look Ahead’s Chief Executive.
Look Ahead customers Kevin and Terry shared performances of spoken word and rapping, inspired by their own experiences. The Choir With No Name, a Look Ahead partner programme, showed up in full force singing several songs that had the entire audience clapping along.
And finally, our guest speaker, Augusto D. Mello, brought it all together when he shared passionately about his own journey homelessness and mental health and his story of recovery. He encouraged the guests to remember to celebrate and embrace who they are.
Throughout the day, an artist was on hand sketching the activity and people, visually capturing the spirit of the day. One customer shared, “It was a great and memorable day”.
Another attendee mentioned, “I sincerely want to experience this again”. The sentiment is shared as we look forward to next year when we gather again to honour more outstanding customers and celebrate together.
If you’re a Look Ahead customer and want to get involved in shaping and delivering services (and planning events like this!), find more information here on how to Get Involved.