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MBEs for those with Knowle West connections

Main image: Co-founders of Open Bionics, former Knowle West resident Samantha Payne and Joel Gibbard. (Image courtesy of Open Bionics).

A former Knowle West resident and the director of a local cookery school have both been awarded MBEs in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Samantha Payne who was brought up in the area went on to co-found Bristol-based Open Bionics with Joel Gibbard in 2014 – which makes affordable, assistive devices for amputees.

The company has won over 20 awards for business innovation, engineering excellence and design.

They have each been honoured with MBEs for their work democratising bionic technology for amputees all around the world.

Samantha was a Junior Digital Producer at Knowle West Media Centre around seven years ago and has returned since to talk to local schools about her achievements.

She says: “I was surprised to receive the nomination. It feels really wonderful to have your work recognised and acknowledged nationally. I’m grateful to be in a position where I believe in the work and I’m passionate about changing the industry and empowering patients.

“Great companies are built by great teams, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to reflect on how far we have come. I work with some truly talented, creative, motivated and supportive people within Open Bionics and within the limb different community.

“A huge thanks to those who have consistently gone above and beyond throughout the journey to build the dream, whatever it takes.”

The news comes just days after the company released a new version of their product – a clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm called the Hero Arm.

The Hero Arm (Image Open Bionics).

Director and head teacher of cookery school and charity Square Food Foundation (SFF), based at The Park, Barny Haughton, has also been honoured for his work.

Director and head teacher of Square Food Foundation cookery school in Knowle West, Barny Haughton. (Image Square Food Foundation).

As champion of food education, organic pioneer and sustainable food hero, Barny was awarded an MBE for Services to the Community.

The award not only recognises the Square Meals service – which saw Barny and his team at SFF cook more than 26,000 meals for local families during lockdown – but also the three decades over which he as campaigned for food education to be recognised for the pivotal role it can play in transforming the health of people and the planet.

Barny Haughton with some of the hundreds of daily meals cooked for local families during lockdown. (Image Square Food Foundation).

Barny said: The Square Meals service was born out of necessity when schools closed and families were left without the lifeline of daily free school meals.

“It’s now clear how complex food poverty is and that it is part of the fabric of life for some people. But this time has shown us that solutions are not complicated or even expensive; they just take a different mindset and strategy.

“At Square Food, we know where our priorities lie – in creating a practical, inspiring food education model for schools and communities that can be replicated and used to campaign for and leverage societal and political change” 

For more information about Open Bionics visit:

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