A woman whose passion is teaching disabled and disadvantaged people how to live independently has won a community hero award.

Gill Nightingale, 51, began volunteering at the Watford Workshop in 2015 to escape the world of corporate work but decided to remain there permanently from 2018 after she was offered a new position as partnership manager.

The Watford Workshop provides opportunities, work experience, skills training and employment for disabled and disadvantage people.

Ms Nightingale said: “After my volunteering I intended to go back to corporate work, but they decided to make this role for me as I had been here for so long and I love the people that volunteer here and use the service."

“Watford Workshop is a charity I’m completely committed to. I could never think of leaving now.”

The most rewarding part of her role for Ms Nightingale is the teaching of life skills that she gives to disabled people who use the service such as cooking and washing clothes.

Ms Nightingale added: “The teaching is what we do for all of our service users for example personal hygiene could be a huge barrier for people to integrate into society.

“Understanding how to keep yourself clean is really important and the cooking for those that want independence.

“I love the service users they all have challenges in life, to feel you’ve given them a reason to get out of bed in the morning and see them make friends is amazing.

“The workshop opens a world to them outside the working environment, which is fantastic, I feel very fortunate to help them.”

Although her main role is to raise awareness and funding by working community businesses and other donors, she has stayed at the charity because of her passion for the welfare of disabled and disadvantage people.

Ms Nightingale added: “I’m very aware of the limited opportunities for disabled people and I’m passionate about the workshop as a place of support.”

When told she won the community hero award Ms Nightingale said: “I’m in shock and I’m touched.

“I feel blessed to do what I do and I’m grateful that someone appreciates it and its nice to be put forward. It’s great to know you’re doing a good job.