A CARE worker on Wearside has won a national award for her dedication to people with special needs.
Sarah Loftus won the Special Needs Manager Award at the Caring Times Care Awards.
She was presented with her prize by television journalist John Sergeant at a gala night in London.
Sarah manages an independent living service for the charity Community Integrated Care (CIC) and provides an outreach service.
This Sunderland services allows six people with learning difficulties and mental health problems to lead full and happy lives in their community.
Michelle Elstob, CIC Sunderland service manager, nominated Sarah for the prize.
She said: “Sarah ensures every individual is supported in a person-centred way.
“When one service user expressed her wish for a home of her own, Sarah worked hard with her family and multi disciplinary team to enable her to move into her own tenancy and gain independence.”
She added: “Sarah’s commitment to continued development for service users and her leadership of her team are inspirational. Her award is well deserved.”
Sarah said: “Being nominated for this award was a great surprise and an honour, so actually winning the award is even more of a privilege.
“Helping people lead fuller lives is very satisfying and I am lucky to share that experience with all my dedicated staff team at CIC.”
Judges said they chose Sarah because she showed a vision and a belief of what is possible.
They said: “Sarah continues to challenge the perceptions of others to achieve.” They described her as “an outstanding leader”.