Ann Beckett Award




Who was Ann Beckett?

Ann Beckett was the first professionally qualified occupational therapist to work in Ireland. She set up Occupational Therapy departments first in Cherry Orchard Hospital and then in the Central Remedial Clinic where she worked for 16 years. Following that, she taught in the first Irish Occupational Therapy College, St. Joseph’s in Dun Laoghaire. She was a co-founder of the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland in 1965. Ann was an outstanding occupational therapist and was devoted to people, nature, music and her profession. Through her work she enriched many lives with her humanity, humour and practical approach to life.

What is the Ann Beckett Award?

The AOTI Ann Beckett Award Committee was set up by a group of Ann’s colleagues and the purpose of this committee is to:

  • Celebrate the life and work of Ann
  • Showcase occupational therapists’ practical occupation based interventions.

The Ann Beckett award is not an academic award but an acknowledgement of therapists who, through their work, demonstrate the core principles of Occupational Therapy in practice. The Committee look for practical projects which showcase active engagement in meaningful activity, and demonstrate creative ideas which involve clients and inspire colleagues.

Podcast link with Andrew Semple, Chairperson, Ann Beckett Committee :


How to enter:

Members of AOTI can apply or be nominated by their colleagues and clients. This Award is sponsored by O’Neill Healthcare.   

Please find award application form, entry rules and guidelines below:

Completed entry forms should be returned


Closing date for receipt of applications - 31st March 2024




The Ann Beckett Award 2023 winner:


Emma Connolly

Is the winner of the

 Ann Beckett Award

with her project

“Flourish and Be” 

Based in Clonakilty, this project came to fruition following many years of Emma working with families with neurodivergent family members, and the constant reference to how difficult they found it to engage in activities of daily living, in particular haircutting.

As a result of this need, Emma set-up a sensory inclusive, bespoke occupational therapy led hairdressing salon. This hair salon has been developed with the Person-Environment- Occupation model and the principals of universal design as the core values of the business.

Emma’s service is one of a kind in Ireland, where clients and their families are fully supported by an Occupational Therapist throughout the whole process of the hair cutting experience. The project focuses on empowering clients and their families to engage in a meaningful self-care occupation, in a friendly and supporting environment.

The salon “Flourish and Be” is totally integrated in the commercial area in town for any, and all to access. It is a beautiful example of inclusiveness and respectfully tailoring the environment to meet the diversity of need. Emma’s passion for enabling each person to flourish in their performance of this necessary self-maintenance task shines through all aspects of the process and outcome of the hair cutting challenge.  

Emma will be presenting a paper on her project at the AOTI Conference in October and later will be presented with the Award during the Conference Dinner.

The Ann Beckett Award Committee would like to thank all the other applicants for their excellent projects. These projects reflect the values of the Ann Beckett Award and follows the foundations that leaders like Ann Beckett have laid, to ensure innovative and life changing practice by Occupational Therapists.


The Ann Beckett Award is kindly sponsored by O’Neill Healthcare. 



Previous winners of The Ann Beckett Award

  • 2022: won by Alice Moore & Helen Lynch with their project CRANN Inclusive Playground Project Design by inclusion, inclusion by design
  • 2021:  won by Noreen Barry, Niamh McCormack, and Irma O’Keeffe for their project “Our Space, Our Skillset" 
  • 2020:  won by Charlotte Sullivan, Amanda Carstairs and Hannah O'Leary for their excellent and innovative project The WOW Group ‘Working together, Organising together, Welcoming new adventures together’
  • 2018: won by Helen Corrigan for her project Experiencing Success – A Gymnastics Group Partnership Programme for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 
  • 2017: won by Della Murtagh for her project Occupational Therapy Special Hands Summer Camp.
  • 2016: won by The Discover Recover Theatre Project in Wexford project group that was led by two occupational therapists Mairead Connaughton and Paula Lowney, and Niall O’Muiri a community mental health nurse.
  • 2015: won by Trinity College Dublin Careers Pathways Initiative, a transition to employment project for students and graduates with mental health difficulties
  • 2014: won by Jenny Smith and Neasa Caulfield for with their Sharing Skills project
  • 2013: won by Fiona Mulholland & Brendan Rooney, Central Mental Hospital, Dublin for The Hen Project
  • 2012: won by Rodrigo Frade, Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services, for the development of a Men's Shed for Sligo Town
  • 2011: won by Margot Barry and Patrick Hynes, Sensational Kids, for their very practical, activity based Social Skills Group for children aged 7 years to 12 years who presented with various difficulties including Asperger’s Syndrome.
  • 2010: won by Theresa Peacock for the Organic Garden & Relaxation Area for mental health service users she established
  • 2009: won by Rosemary Dillon for the Motorbike Restoration Project where participants with acquired brain injury stripped, restored and reassembled a vintage motorbike
  • 2008:won by Alice Rajaratnam for the Drawing Smiles Programme, a new approach to enhancing perceptual and learning skills, self-confidence, motivation & stress regulating ability for those with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
  • 2007: won by Mary McGrath for the Home-based Memory Rehabilitation Programme established in Belfast City Hospital to provide cognitive rehabilitation in the area of memory for persons with early stage dementia and support for their caregivers.
  • 2006: won by Eithne Kenny for Seating for Doing to maximise independence in a long term care unit through innovative seating and mobility systems.
  • 2005: won by Frances Corozza Paediatric Powered Mobility, a team approach to powered mobility in the Central Remedial Clinic.
  • 2004: won by Linda Welford for The Otters Programme, a sensory motor and pre-handwriting scheme in a local school.



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