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.

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 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 and creative ideas which inspire colleagues and clients.

How to enter:

Members of AOTI can apply or be nominated by their colleagues and clients. This Award is supported by O’Neill Healthcare. Closing date for entries for 2021 is the end of October 2020. Please email to request an Application Form and completed application forms should be returned to the same email address or select links below

Ann Beckett Award entry form

Ann Beckett Award Entry Rules and Guidelines



2020 Ann Beckett Award Winner 

The prestigious award has been given to 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’

The WOW Group encourages children and families to be the active participants in therapy services rather than passive recipients. It captures many aspects of intervention that are not traditionally being targeted. Charlotte, Amanda and Hannah found that while occupational therapy service referrals are mostly for handwriting, motor skills and organisational skills, feedback from parent groups has shown that their main concerns and priorities for their children are in the area of self-esteem, friendships and social integration.

The WOW project was successful in supporting children to access activities in their own communities, and to engage the children in meaningful leisure occupations to support their well-being. The project achieved the goal to take the children out of the clinic setting, into the real world, and enabled children to have confidence to try new activities in their local community, to make friends, and develop communication, planning and organisational skills. Activities included horse-riding, pottery, painting, badminton, cookery, crazy golf, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.  

The project included video recording activities and editing videos which were shown at the final celebration party which included parents and siblings.  Parallel sessions were provided for parents to enable them to support their children’s independence in planning and organisation prior to the activities.

One of the highlights shared by participants was the obvious enjoyment of the activities and their progress. It is inspiring to see such a project which incorporates occupational therapy principals.

This is an excellent project and a worthy winner of the Ann Beckett Award.

Charlotte Sullivan, Amanda Carstairs and Hannah O'Leary are Occupational Therapists working in the HSE West Cork Community Paediatric Occupational Therapy Service based in Skibbereen.  

The Award will be presented at the AOTI Conference in October.

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 supported by O’Neill Healthcare.  

Previous winners of the Ann Beckett Award

  • 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 Skillsproject
  • 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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