A volunteer from Leeds has received a British Citizen Award in recognition of the 1,000 hours of volunteering he’s racked up at Luv2meetU, Hft’s friendship and dating service.

Will Harris has been volunteering with Luv2meetU since its inception in 2007, giving up his free time to support people to increase their confidence, make friends and sometimes even find love. Despite working full time as a support worker for a different provider, Will organises monthly days out for up to six people with learning disabilities, who he encourages to take part in local activities. The dedicated volunteer has even started regular mentoring sessions with people new to Hft’s volunteer buddy scheme.

As a thank you for his years of hard work, Will’s Hft colleagues nominated him for a British Citizen Award in the Volunteering and Charitable Giving category – which was successful!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Will was invited to a prestigious ceremony at the Palace of Westminster in London on 4 July to celebrate. Along with 35 other medallists, he took part in a lap of honour of London on an open top bus. Will then enjoyed afternoon tea in Westminster and received a medal, presented to him by Dame Mary Perkins.

Will said:

“It is an honour and a privilege to be awarded the British Citizen Award for my work at Luv2meetU. I’ve been with the service since it was launched and am so proud to have made a difference to people with learning disabilities, who might otherwise have found it difficult to be active in their communities and develop new relationships.”

Karen England, Project Manager at Luv2meetU, said:

“Will has been a truly loyal supporter over the last 12 years. He was one of our very first volunteers and has shown unwavering passion and commitment to reducing loneliness and isolation in people with learning disabilities.

“Will has cerebral palsy himself and works full time, but nothing gets in his way. His approach to events is always person-centred and he’s built up a valuable rapport with everyone he supports. His contribution over the years has been immense.”

Launched in 2015, the British Citizen Awards recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly to make a positive impact on society. The awards take place twice annually.

Visit our volunteering page to find out more about giving up your time to support adults with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.