Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds' call for increased adoption of children with disabilities has been applauded by Cumbria's adoption service, after her Bafta win.

The 29-year-old swimmer, recognised for her 2023 documentary Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family, used her acceptance speech to urge adoption of children with disabilities.

Ms Simmonds, who was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, said: "If you want to adopt, adopt people with different disabilities, there's so many people out there that need adoption, and need love, and need families.

"I want to say thank you to my parents, my mum and dad, and I wouldn't be here without them and adopting me and also adopting my four other siblings and fostering as well.

"I love you."

Ruth McHugh, the Cumbria Adoption service manager, welcomed Ms Simmonds’ message.

She explained that nationally, children with disabilities wait an additional nine months in care for an adoptive family, compared to those without disabilities.

Ms McHugh said: "Ellie's speech - and her award-winning documentary - was inspirational and timely.

"We always need more adopters who are open to adopting children with disabilities or additional needs, as well as older children and brothers and sisters to be adopted together.

"Adopting children with disabilities can be challenging of course but is also especially rewarding and Cumbria Adoption provides a whole range of support to adopters, whether you have experience of children with disabilities within your family or work, or want to welcome a child with disabilities into your family for the first time."

At present, Cumbria Adoption, working on behalf of Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council, has 29 children with a plan of adoption.

Three children have a diagnosed disability, while others have complex needs yet to be diagnosed as a disability.

To find out more about Cumbria Adoption, visit

For more information about Cumbria Fostering, visit