Caroline and David, Holmewood Community Centre, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Caroline and David have been together, on and off, for 12 years. David gets frustrated with Caroline as he likes to walk but she's not as keen. I met them at Holmewood community centre where the charity MacIntyre runs daily activities for people with learning disabilities and autism. David showed me their print-making equipment. He was making bags, for sale in a MacIntyre shop. This photo was taken during their coffee break. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Taiye opening a present with Shauneen (left) and Julie (right). At MacIntyre School Wingrave, Buckinghamshire, for children and young people aged 10–19. Before going to Wingrave, Taiye was in a special school but they couldn't manage her behaviour. She was strapped into a chair for most of her school day. She transfered to Wingrave in September 2011. Throughout her time at Wingrave, Taiye still challenged others on occasion, but staff found that having a staff member on either side and just walking (without talking), sometimes for up to three hours, would help calm her. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Charles with Callum at the MacIntyre School Wingrave, Buckinghamshire. Charles enjoys climbing and traversing from side to side. We use bean bags and hoops to play games and make the wall more engaging and challenging. The sessions have a huge benefit on his overall health and well-being: the exercise he receives, the sensory feedback he gets from holding his own body weight and the feel of the rough surface of the holds, as well as the social interaction from staff and his peers, are all invaluable. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Aja with Farah, MacIntyre No Limits, Oxfordshire. Aja lives in Banbury with her mother and siblings. She is supported by MacIntyre No Limits, with two-to-one support. Aja is learning social skills such as grocery shopping and how to get about on public transport. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Left to right: Pasquale, Nicholas, Paul, Peter, and Tracey serving food at an event. MacIntyre Catering, Milton Keynes. "On an average day we have 7 to 8 orders of 60–70 lunches for offices in Milton Keynes. We also cater for events. We did the Mayor's Dinner in May. A staff of four support six people with learning disabilities every day. Together we cook all the food, and serve it at events. We had a standing ovation at the end of the Mayor's Dinner." Sadie, manager of MacIntyre Catering and Great Holm Coffee Shop. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Raymond and Peter, Christmas Party 2014, Civic Hall, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Raymond and Peter live in a shared house with support staff. They've been great friends since they met. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Tessa and Mark, Tring Church, Hertfordshire. "We talked about getting married. Mark asked me first. Mark was waiting in the church with the vicar. He was waiting for the bride to come down the aisle, that's when the wedding march played. I liked the church and seeing my husband down the bottom. All our friends were there. Some of the staff were crying—that means they were happy. We said the words correctly. We practised them in my flat before we got married. I liked the bit outside: there were lots of people taking photos of me and Mark." Tessa © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Pauline with Jamie, Endeavour Academy, Oxfordshire. Pauline cooking with Jamie at MacIntyre's Endeavour Academy, a newly opened school for autistic children aged 11–21. She encourages Jamie to pick out the chocolate drops, to smell them, taste them and to find more. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Sarah and Zoe, Great Holm Coffee Shop, Milton Keynes. The cafe is open to the public and is staffed by adults with learning disabilities. "When we first opened, in 1988, there was nothing like this, it was quite unique. Some people would walk in, take a look around and walk straight out again. Or they would talk to me and ignore the two people standing next to me because they had a learning disability. Now people don't see us as a learning disability café. I have seen people finish their lunch and then suddenly clock the people working here while drinking their coffee." Sadie, head of service, Great Holm Coffee Shop. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.
Lucie diving, Milton Keynes Sports Centre. Lucie also works in the Great Holm coffee shop where journalist Amanda Mitchison meets up with her for an article in the Guardian. Lucie is in the midst of making a cake. Here was their exchange: "Is swimming her favourite sport?" "Yes." "She's done a sponsored swim, hasn't she?" "Yes." "Can she do butterfly? She nods and goes on rifling through the measuring spoons. "Can she dive?" She nods. She's checking and checking again. She is polite but it's clear she hasn't the time for chitchat—she must get the right spoon. © Polly Braden. Juror's Pick, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016.