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.

How to enter:

Members of AOTI can apply or be nominated by their colleagues and clients. This Award is supported 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 2023




Ann Beckett Award 2022 winner:

The Ann Beckett Award committee is delighted to announce the winners of the Ann Beckett Award 2021/2022

Alice Moore & Helen Lynch

are the winners of the

Ann Beckett Award

with their project

CRANN Inclusive Playground Project

Design by inclusion, inclusion by design

This year’s winning project turned children with neuro-physical disabilities and their families into playground designers.  Children and families worked with a team of Occupational Therapists alongside architects and builders to imagine their dream, inclusive playground and recreation space.  Alice Moore and Helen Lynch of University College Cork worked with the Crann Centre, a not-for-profit organisation in Cork that supports people living with neuro-physical disabilities and their families.  Staff at the centre approached the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in University College Cork for support in their efforts to build the first fully inclusive playground in Ireland. Alice and Helen drew on their expertise in designing for play to work which families and service users of the Crann Centre in Cork to design their state-of-the art, inclusive playground. 

Recognising that children and their families are ‘experts’ in play, Alice and Helen gathered their previous experiences of playgrounds and gave them the chance to work with architects and builders to communicate their own dreams and vision of their perfect playground and recreation space.  Several design rounds resulted in a design everyone was happy with and as building began on the €500,000 inclusive playground everyone’s dreams got a little bit closer.  The playground is due to be officially opened in June 2022 and will be a model for what inclusive outdoor play can really look like once children and families are consulted and included by design professionals.

The new play and recreation space has been designed to be barrier-free and aims to have something for everyone from swings to playhouses, a sensory area and gym equipment and musical instruments.  There is even an outdoor pizza oven and BBQ area for family parties.

One of the highlights of the new design will be a fully accessible Pirate Ship giving children with different needs the same opportunities to climb to the top of the ship.  As one participant said, “there will be no more limits on my play….. this project is one that will change my life forever

This is an excellent project and a worthy winner of the Ann Beckett Award 2021.

Alice Moore is currently completing her PhD studies and Helen Lynch is her supervisor at University College Cork.  They both have a wealth of experience in making play experiences for children accessible and inclusive.

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 Committee would like to thank all the other applicants for their excellent projects.

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

Previous winners of the Ann Beckett Award

  • 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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