A Prior’s Court staff member was shortlisted in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition with a personal photo that celebrates and showcases the value of someone with a learning disability has in the workplace and in society.

Birgit Mayled, our Medical Administrator, took this photo of her daughter Esme who has volunteered at Prior’s Court for a number of years.

The photo, called At Work, was taken in the kitchen at Prior’s Court on 30th December 2021.

Esme, a familiar face at Prior’s Court, mainly works with our catering contractors Sodexo in the kitchen overseen by manager Ian Bradley. Esme is studying Hospitality at a National Specialist College known as Foxes Academy in Minehead, and finishes this July.

The image was shortlisted in the prestigious International Pink Lady Apple Food Photographer of the Year competition 2022 in the Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers Category, but unfortunately missed out on the final selection.

Birgit, who in addition to her role at Prior’s Court is a food photographer, said: “The picture is to show how someone with learning disability can be an asset to society. How if the world was undivided by prejudice and inequality, there would be more for everyone not less. It’s about diversity in the workplace. It’s about some of the core values of Priors Court.”

One of Prior’s Court’s ambitions for its young people is to support them to enter the world of work, with a new defined careers service with the aim to secure paid employment for our young people at Prior’s Court and with third-party organisations.

Birgit, who recently assisted in a professional cookbook shoot, added: “I am very proud. The strength of the photo is it is different, true and tells a story. The shortlist has been refined to the top tier of photos now, and my journey in the competition is ended, but getting as far as the shortlist is extraordinary and is an industry recognised badge of standard and achievement.

“The competition is very prestigious. It’s a huge compliment to have been shortlisted, and the photo stands amongst some extraordinary work in the publicly accessible gallery here.”

At the end of her course, Esme has an apprentice and job to go on to with Sodexo, based at Dennison Barracks in nearby Hermitage.