Barbara McNaught, 64, of East Mayfield, who has been nominated in the Community Champion category, has spent 23 years helping children with disabilities.
She was among the first nursery nurses to support children with special needs who wanted to have a place in mainstream education.
Barbara, who is now retired, says she is “gobsmacked” to have been nominated for the award.
She befriended a child who had been born with cerebral palsy affecting all of her limbs. More than 20 years later the pair are still close.
“She has no speech but we can understand the things she likes and doesn’t like,” says Barbara.
“I have known her since she was about eight years old. She is now about 30. She is part of the family, that’s how we see it.”
During Barbara’s career, she has worked at the Royal Blind School, Oaklands School, Liberton Primary School, Tollcross Primary School and James Gillespie’s High School. She says it was only when she became a mother that she became interested in working with children.
“When my daughter was old enough I decided I would get a nursery nurse qualification. I did a bit of work in a playgroup and became quite interested in getting involved with people with special needs. I think all children deserve a chance and the best possible care and the best possible opportunities to enjoy their lives and to excel. It is very rewarding when you work in an environment where you can help someone achieve the best they can, and to make their lives as a complete as possible.”
Barbara has also volunteers for Grange Prestonfield Community Council and helps out on Wednesdays in the Lothian Cat Rescue shop. She has also been a volunteer first aider for nearly 40 years.
The Community Champion award, sponsored by the STV Edinburgh App, is one of 13 separate awards up for grabs in the competition being run in conjunction with Lidl.
Also open for nominations is the 999 Hero Award, sponsored by Castle Fire & Security. This will recognise a member of the emergency services who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Winners will be announced on Friday, May 16, at the Assembly Rooms.
How to nominate
THE Pride of Edinburgh awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Winners will be announced on Friday, May 16, at the Assembly Rooms.
The easiest way to nominate someone for The Pride of Edinburgh Awards is by visiting www.prideofedinburgh.co.uk
This dedicated website will allow you to choose which category you wish to enter, as well as allowing you to tell us all about your nominee.
If you prefer to enter by post, please send your entry to Edinburgh Evening News, The Pride of Edinburgh Awards, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS. Entries must include your name, address and telephone number.
Please make it clear which category you wish to enter your nominee for and explain why you think they deserve to win the award.
The closing date for entries is Monday, April 21.