Point of impact

Date published: 15 May 2014

A SELFLESS mum and dad have won a prestigious award from Prime Minister David Cameron after growing membership of a carers forum from 50 to 650 in four years.

Andrew Robinson (38) and Elaine Stoneman (56) assumed control of Oldham Council’s forum and established Parents of Oldham in Touch (POINT) to support families of children with additional needs and disabilities.

The group was their answer to difficulty finding support for their 14-year-old autistic son Joshua. Andrew revealed they had no idea they were on course for the Points of Light award — which recognises outstanding individual volunteers who make a difference in their community — until a member of the Cabinet office came to visit them.

He said: “We received a letter from the Cabinet office saying they wanted to do a case study on POINT but we had no idea what it was about.

“Then they they got in touch again and told us we’d won this award. We were both overwhelmed.”

The award is developed in partnership with a successful programme in America which has honoured 5,000 people.

Andrew added: “It’s fantastic to be recognised but we couldn’t do it without the other volunteers. We feel very privileged. It helps to ensure that like-minded families have got a real voice in shaping the community.”

Prime Minister Mr Cameron said: “Andrew and Elaine have done an incredible job running Parents of Oldham In Touch, increasing its membership 13-fold and offering new support to families. I am delighted to be recognising Andrew and Elaine as Points of Light.”