Prize-winning photograph will put minister’s visitors in the picture


An award-winning disabled entrant in a photography competition has had his picture chosen to decorate the wall of a government minister’s office.

Tim Thackeray won a gold award in Mencap’s Snap! national photography and film competition with Open Strings, a picture of him playing his violin.

Now that picture is to be hung on the wall of care services minister Phil Hope.

Thackeray visited the Department of Health this week to deliver the photograph to the minister.

He said it “feels great” and was a “fantastic achievement” for his picture to be chosen to hang on the minister’s wall.

He said: “It took a lot of effort and time. It’s a picture I want to look at every time I pass it.”

The minister decided to buy Thackeray’s picture after he was a presenter at the Snap! awards ceremony at London’s Proud Galleries in June.

Hope said: “The picture for me summed up a way of challenging stereotypical attitudes towards what people with learning disabilities enjoy doing and what they can do.”

He said the picture also illustrates the government’s attitudes towards people with learning difficulties, following the publication of its Valuing People Now and Valuing Employment Now strategies.

Hope said: “It’s about saying that people with learning disabilities need services that enable them to fulfil their aspirations and have their life chances, like everyone else.

“Valuing Employment Now is saying many more people with learning disabilities could get into training or part-time or full-time work if you overcome the barriers.

“Tim is a very good example of someone who is overcoming those barriers.”

He said he hoped the photograph would also help challenge the attitudes of visitors to his office, although he would not say which visitors might need such a challenge.

But he added: “I think everybody needs to be reminded about what learning disability is and what people with learning disabilities can do.”

3 November 2009