Inspirational Glyndŵr University student presented with student of the year award
28 February 2013
A DISABLED mum who always dreamed of helping people live in the best housing possible has been presented a national award for her work and dedication.
Tanya Maynard, 26, who lives in Wales and is originally from Crawley in Sussex, was presented the Chartered Institute of Housing’s ‘Student of the Year’ award at a ceremony in London.
Tanya, who has a rare genetic physical disability called oculo palato digital syndrome as well as other medical conditions, has completed a degree in housing sciences at Glyndŵr University in Wales and is about to embark on her career as a housing officer.
Last year, Tanya married her partner Sean and the couple have a daughter, Angel, five, who inherited the same rare genetic disability and needs 24-hour care. Tanya was supported by Outreach 3 Way, a provider of support for people with learning disabilities which is now part of national organisation Dimensions, when she lived in Crawley.
The family struggled through many issues, including homelessness, and gained advice from Outreach 3 Way’s Jill Constable. She helped Tanya to go to job interviews, supported her with reading and writing and provided advice and guidance that has enabled the couple to bring up Angel independently.
Despite all of these she was so focused and determined to achieve her dream that she and her family moved to Wales so that Tanya was able to study for her degree. Tanya first attended college in Bangor, completing the Access to Higher education course in social sciences.
Tanya said: “I was determined to prove that just because I have a disability and because I have had a lot of disadvantages that I can change the negative into positives and influence the perception of others in society.
“I want my experiences to help others, I wanted to inspire and bring hope to others and to prove that anything is possible if you work hard, listen to good advice and take constructive criticism and then use it to prove to others you can and will do it.
“Jill and Sean believed in me and this has helped me continue to achieve my dreams.”
In 2009 Tanya completed a four year HNC in Housing Studies at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham and then in 2011 Tanya completed FdSc in housing sciences.
Last year she began a BSc (Hons) Degree in Housing studies, which finishes 2014, and she has a voluntary job working for De Gwynedd Domestic Abuse Services.
Jill Constable, who supported Tanya while she lived in Crawley, has remained firm friends with Tanya and attended the awards ceremony in London with her.
Jill said: “Tanya is such a hard-working person, she is always thinking about other people – trying to make things better for people who have disabilities.
“She has always wanted to make her own way in life and not to live on benefits. She is determined and focussed, truly inspirational.”
Outreach 3 way is part of Dimensions, a national organisation that supports people with learning disabilities and people who experience autism. For more information, visit www.dimensions-uk.org