Posted on: Thursday 13 December 2018
21-year-old James Matthews from Ponthir has recently been awarded the 'Young Volunteer of the Year award' at the annual National Volunteering Matters AGM awards ceremony in London.
James has been supported by Torfaens Learning Disabilities Team for the past five years, in order for him to access volunteering opportunities across the county borough.
His volunteering journey started at Age Connects Torfaen where he would help support people with dementia in social activities and serving their lunch. This transpired on to volunteering at Llanfrechfa Grange, walled garden project, where he continues to work whilst juggling college work.
James was recognised for the award based on the exceptional work he has done with Volunteering Matters on the 'SAFE' project. The project is a six week course for young people with learning disabilities and covers safe sexual relationships which include staying safe using social media. James helped the facilitator deliver the course and made the participants feel at ease.
Throughout his journey, James has be coached by Learning Disabilities Project Officer, Ceri Evans, who has equipped him with the skills and knowledge of being able to work more independently and with a range of individuals with complex needs.
James said, "I am delighted to have been nominated for the national award and winning it feels very rewarding. I would like to thank all the staff that have supported me whilst i have worked on the SAFE project. I would like to say a special thank you to Ellie and Ceri who had faith in me from the start and made me feel very welcome."
There are currently over 30,000 people volunteering for Volunteering Matters projects across the country. Volunteers who play a vital role across projects within Volunteering Matters are nominated by staff for the awards.’
Executive Member for Health, Adult Services and Wellbeing, Councillor Richard Clark said, “I would firstly like to congratulate James on winning the award, being named volunteer of the year from a pool of 30,000 active volunteers around the country is an incredible achievement.
The amazing contribution James has made as a volunteer, adding value to services delivered across Torfaen that support our most vulnerable in society is a real testament to him receiving the award. Well done”