A support worker who delivers on Active Lancashire’s Challenge Through Sport Initiative (CSI), has once again been recognised for his efforts within volunteering.
John Raper, based in Oswaldtwistle, was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Selnet Enterprise in Society Awards 2019, fighting off tough competition from an array of other dedicated, Lancashire-based volunteers to claim the title.
John, originally from Sheffield, began his journey as a participant on the CSI project after moving to Preston following a troubled upbringing which led to drug and prescription drug addiction. After befriending one of the CSI support workers, he then went onto attend and facilitate activities in the Hyndburn and Blackburn areas aimed at engaging those in recovery from substance or alcohol addiction. Eventually he progressed to leading sessions as an independent volunteer having built his confidence and skills on the project.
During the 12-month period that John was a volunteer, he gave over 400 hours of his time, connecting with local communities and families to deliver sessions that catered to their specific needs. He facilitated a ‘chill & chat’ group encouraging locals in a Shadsworth-based Hostel to meet and make new friends, as well as organising walks for families which allowed for them to spend quality time together whilst also getting active. John has successfully engaged many hard-to-reach participants from extremely deprived areas of the County, listening to their needs and delivering sessions that they find appealing.
This is not the first time that John’s volunteering efforts have been awarded, as back in December 2018 he also won the Volunteer of the Year Award for the Lancashire Boys and Girls Club.
It is clear to see what a difference John has made to Lancashire communities, and in May this year his hard work paid off as he was offered 10 hours employment within the CSI team at Active Lancashire, which he accepted.
The Challenge Through Sport Initiative is a Lancashire-wide bespoke behaviour change programme aimed at improving the lives of those in recovery from substance misuse, mental health issues and other addictions. The project only has eight employed support workers, thus relies on volunteers to be able to deliver more activities, attend meetings and support more people coming through the project. Each volunteer is given training and support with a view to them eventually being ready for employment.
To find out more about the CSI project please visit: https://www.activelancashire.org.uk/projects/challenge-through-sport-initiative.