A BOOKSHOP owner has claimed double success in an awards scheme which turns the spotlight on the positive side of dyslexia.

The judges praised the welcoming environment Alistair Sims has created at the Book on the Hill shop in Clevedon, and his passion for making reading accessible for dyslexic people.

Alistair picked up both the adult innovation award and community shining star prize in the 2023 Dyslexia Awards, which were presented at a glittering ceremony in Shropshire.

Awards founder Eli Wilkinson said: “Each category is judged by a separate panel, so it is really impressive that Alistair stood out in both categories. He is actually only the second person ever to be shortlisted for three awards.

“The judges commented on Alistair’s passion for creating a welcoming, supportive environment to help reduce anxieties around reading.

“A dyslexic person opening a bookshop is a real example of innovation, and Alistair is seen as a champion for dyslexic people and for helping to dispel the myth that dyslexic people don’t like reading.”

The judges also said: “There are lots of bookshops but this is a bookshop with a difference – it’s a bookshop with books that are written in a dyslexic-friendly way, so people who normally struggle to read can experience the joys of reading.

“The last thing you would expect a dyslexic person to do would be to set up a publishing company, but Alistair has done this very successfully – and is a published author himself.

“He has also managed to persuade successful authors to agree to their books being re-published so dyslexic people can enjoy them."

Receiving the awards Alistair said: “I’m absolutely shocked to have won.

“This award will hopefully help cement the fact that people with dyslexia can enjoy reading so long as they have access to the right resources and if it’s promoted in a positive way.

“It’s not rocket science to ensure that dyslexic-friendly literature is available for them.”

The 2023 Dyslexia Awards and celebration evening was held at the Mercure Telford Central Hotel in Shropshire on September 23 to showcase the achievements and talents of dyslexics nationwide.

The annual event was attended by about 112 finalists and guests, who heard many inspiring stories about the achievements of amazing dyslexics.

The annual event is the brainchild of Elizabeth, who is dyslexic herself and who has worked in the field of dyslexia in Telford for 24 years.

Elizabeth said: “It was another amazing night, and everybody had a great time. I am so proud of all our finalists.

“Every year I am blown away by them but this year I was so very humbled to see how proud people were to be nominated.

“I love that people are being proud and are using this as a platform to highlight dyslexic talents and to make a positive difference.

“These awards are about celebrating dyslexic achievement and shining a light on the people and organisations who recognise dyslexic talents and skills, and who are smart enough to utilise and support them, and who create environments where those talents can flourish.

“It’s all about raising positive awareness of dyslexia and showing that different thinking is a good thing – it brings with it an abundance of alternative solutions to problems, new inventions, creations, leaders, and innovations.

“All this is made much easier if we are taught properly and supportive employers and educators get that we learn differently. It can make such a positive difference to people’s futures.

“Research suggests that one person in every 10 is probably dyslexic so it’s got to be in everyone’s interest that the talents and skills of dyslexics are nurtured, encouraged and put to good use.

Other awards presented on the night included supportive employer, young and adult entrepreneur awards, adult and teenage community shining stars, innovation, excellent educator, and learning support.

Elizabeth said: “The evening was a great success and really shone the spotlight on the great achievements of the amazing finalists and winners, showing the positive side of dyslexia.

“Many thanks to all of our fabulous sponsors, because I really couldn’t do it without them, to the businesses who very kindly gave amazing table gifts for our guests, and to everyone who took the time to nominate someone for an award. I am so excited for the 2024 awards now.”

The companies and organisations who each sponsored an award were: MedatativeState.Com, Exclusive Solutions Ltd, the Federation of Small Businesses, Global Freight Services Ltd, The Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant, CRG Business Solutions, Darwin Wealth Management Ltd, Vaikai Web Design and In The Loop, Shrewsbury.

For more information about the Dyslexia Awards, visit www.dyslexia-awards.org.uk