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Prominent disability rights campaigner made OBE in King’s Birthday Honours

Leicester disability rights campaigner Dr Anna Severwright has been made an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for her services to disabled and older people.

Anna, 38, has used her own experience of disability and living with multiple long-term conditions, as well as her professional training, to build a national platform for change so that disabled and older people’s voices are increasingly influencing national government policy on social care.

Leicester Time: Prominent disability rights campaigner made OBE in King’s Birthday Honours
Picture: Dr Anna Severwright

Originally qualifying as a doctor, Anna’s health eventually meant she was unable to continue in clinical practice. As someone using Direct Payments to arrange her own adult social care (ASC), she has drawn on her experience and insights to drive improvements in the way people access the health and care system for support, to reduce bureaucracy and support changes in practice.

Anna lives in Leicester, and was a former advisor to the House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee and was Commissioner to the Archbishop’s Commission on Re-imagining Care. She is a patient partner with her local NHS Trust and was co-chair of the Coalition for Collaborative Care at NHS England.

Anna is now a convenor and advisor to Social Care Future, a diverse social movement looking to bring positive change to social care, as well as the national charity InControl, which is working for an inclusive society where everyone has the support they need to live a good life.

OBE stands for “Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” and is usually appointed to an individual for having made a major contribution at a local level or gained a national profile.

Being made an OBE puts Anna alongside other notable OBEs who campaign for disability rights, including Baroness Jane Campbell and Martin Stevens, as well as celebrities including JK Rowling, David Beckham, Keira Knightly and Damon Albarn.

Anna says: “I never expected I to be made an OBE. My imposter syndrome is trying to kick in, but I am pleased to accept it. The honour recognises the contribution that people with lived experience make to social care, and also my work with Social Care Future, which is calling for a brighter future for everyone to live in a place we call home, with the people and things we love, in communities where we look out for each other, doing the things that matter to us.

“I know my work stands (or sits!) on the shoulders of many wonderful disabled people who have been fighting for decades and many who still are now. It is positive to see lived experience being valued and I hope there are many more to follow mine.”

Julie Stansfield, chief executive of InControl and fellow Social Care Future convenor, says:

“We at In Control and Social Care Future are proud to share our delight and congratulations to Anna on receiving this award. Recognising Anna’s contribution in working to ensure disabled people’s voices are heard is such a great achievement. This recognition amplifies her mission.”