Our Ryan is Honoured with an Award in Memory of Princess Diana

Our Ryan is Honoured with an Award in Memory of Princess Diana

UK autism charity, Anna Kennedy Online is delighted to announce that their young patron Ryan Wiggins has been honoured with a Diana Award.

Ryan Wiggins, 15 from Watford, has received the Diana Award for his charity work for Anna Kennedy Online, including volunteering, ambassadorship and empowering other young people to change their lives, communities and families.

Ryan, who has Asperger’s Syndrome works alongside the charity and rolls out leading campaigns that promote anti bullying, raise awareness of autism, and help change people’s perspectives.

Since 1999, over 47,000 young people have been recognised with a Diana Award for making an outstanding difference in their communities’ across the globe and continuing Princess Diana’s legacy. With the support of HRH Prince William and HRH Prince Harry, The Diana Award aims to inspire and recognise social action in young people by going beyond its Awards programme with youth led initiatives that empower young people to achieve their full potential and make a difference.

Tessy Ojo CEO of the Diana Award said: “The Diana Award is proud to recognise incredible young people, like Ryan Wiggins who have the confidence and courage to stand up for what they believe. The Diana Award is presented to inspirational young people who work to improve the lives of others in their schools and communities. With a growing network of over 47,000 Award Holders, we are building a force of young people who are committed to taking action and improving the lives of others.”

“Ryan is a passionate and talented individual, who has consistently battled adversity. He uses his experiences to help and improve the lives of others, and his commitment to the charity is incredible. Ryan is an important part of the AKO team, and a well deserved winner of the Diana Award.” Anna Kennedy OBE, Founder of Anna Kennedy Online.

To celebrate #DianasLegacy during Princess Diana’s birthday month The Diana Award will be publishing a full list of Award Holders from the academic year 2015/2016 at www.diana-award.org.uk on the 4th July 2016. Nominations for the Diana Award for the academic year 2016/2017 open in September 2016 and can be made on the Diana Award’s website.

About the DianaAwards

Underpinning all of our programmes are 3 core elements:

  • Skills development

  • Character building

  • Social action

These programmes are:

  • The Diana Award Programme Giving young people value.

  • The Diana Award Network Programme Supports social mobility and furthers social action for young people.

  • The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign Gives young people, professionals and parents the skills and confidence to tackle all forms of bullying.

  • The Diana Award Mentoring Programme Supports at risk young people.


Since 1999 The Diana Award has…

  • Recognised 47,000 young people for their social action with a Diana Award

  • Trained over 17,000 young people to tackle bullying in their schools and communities

  • Supported over 285 hard to reach young people through the Mentoring Programme

  • Empowered & Engaged 2,000 young people through initiatives run by the Network Programme.




Anna Kennedy Online has received many contacts from its supporters regarding messages posted on social media by law firm Baker Small, a firm who is notorious for the approach it uses when representing Local Authorities in parental appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability tribunal and Upper Tribunal.

Many of the complaints we have heard about this firm relate to the outright hostility of adopted by its practitioners along with a reluctance to adopt the “cards on the table” approach the law requires as this is seen as being in the best interests of the child.

What seems to have annoyed people is Baker Small’s conduct on social media over a tribunal “win” where they deemed it appropriate to openly gloat about a disabled child being deprived of the essential provision it was believed they needed. Whilst this attitude is deplorable, it should be remembered that this firm was presumably always acting in accordance with the instructions they had been given Local Authorities who were paying for their services – using the money contributed by the taxes of the people who had, to use Bakers Smalls language, been “defeated” in their attempts to procure what was right for their children. Parents are perhaps also justified in asking why the Local Authorities who use Baker Small are “surprised” by the attitudes that have recently come to light. This astonishment on behalf of some Local Authorities is even more difficult to understand given some parents have told Anna Kennedy Online that they have made their Local Authority aware of Baker Smalls behaviour and their concerns were ignored or dismissed.  It is also astonishing why the special educational needs and disability tribunal allowed Baker Small to employ their tactics for so long without choosing to admonish them.

Many people who have contacted Anna Kennedy Online have expressed the view that they hope Baker Small and its lawyers will not be allowed to practice in the future. This is a matter for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, but should any parents have any complaints about Baker Small they are entitled to raise them with the regulator who can be contacted here: https://www.sra.org.uk/contact-us/ Anna Kennedy Online is also in the process of reporting this.

One thing Anna Kennedy Online would encourage is for parents to find out the fees paid by any Local Authority in relation to an appeal i.e. to external solicitors or barristers, or even the internal costs incurred. This can be done using the Freedom of Information Act and an article will be posted on this subject in the near future.

It is clear from this shameful situation, the current education system needs change and the child’s needs are the primary concern after all. Therefore we urge you to sign the following petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/132715 which may be a start.

Three Men & A Little Lady

Three Men & A Little Lady

Anna Kennedy Online is celebrating fathers living with autism this Father’s Day. Adeptly titled ‘Three Men and a Little Lady’, the charity has created a film focusing on the father’s perspective of autism.
Featuring three interviews from dads, and an open and honest discussion led by charity founder Anna Kennedy OBE.
This never before seen candid footage offers an emotional perspective of a father’s love and dedication.
“There is so much focus on mum’s and how they cope with autism, we wanted to share the father’s point of view.
These interviews are rare and the difference in their responses to their female counterparts provide interesting and straightforward reactions.” – Anna Kennedy OBE, Founder of Anna Kennedy Online. The film, which was filmed at Amba Hotel, London by AKO young patron Ryan Wiggins, focuses on everyday life with children with autism.
The dads featured are Sanjay Thapar, Andrew Holmes and Mick Cordwell, all who have had to make huge changes to their lifestyles and careers. “A father’s love is as important as a mother’s, and we wanted to celebrate the sacrifices and compromises that each man has made for his family. These achievements are not recognised enough and deserve positive attention, and this is what the video is doing.” Anna continues.
Anna Kennedy OBE works closely with families who live with autism to help shine a positive light and help their situations. Anna has helped hundreds of families throughout the UK and globally.
This film is a series of events created by the charity to help the public understand the real faces of autism, good and bad. “Our video is helping to spread an honest message about living with autism. It is allowing us to expand out outreach, raise awareness and continue to support more and more families on a global scale.” – Anna Kennedy OBE concludes.