We’re delighted to announce that Morris from Lambeth, a Disability Rights UK mentor on the Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Peer Support Project has won a prestigious Torch Trophy Trust award for Outstanding Contribution to Inclusivity.

Morris experienced a breakdown a few years ago following the loss of his job. He felt he had lost his identity, was under pressure to support his family and really struggled to re-build his confidence.  He has since made a remarkable recovery and used volunteering on GOGA as a way to build his self-esteem and fulfil his love of supporting others, volunteering in more than five different roles over the past three years.

Following ‘Making A Great Mentor’ training, he and his mentee Stephen started working together by taking up yoga – an activity new to both of them. Within three months they had both become more physically active, tried other new activities like walking and aerobics and both have reported increases in their confidence and mental wellbeing.

Stephen has a history of depression and mental health problems and before working with Morris he struggled to even get out of the house. He said: “I felt low, I lacked motivation to do things. I knew I wanted to get active but it seemed so hard to take the first step.

Joining GOGA and working with Morris has changed my life. He was there alongside me when I took my first go at yoga and slowly he helped me to set small goals, motivating me at each step. I now go to exercise classes six times a week and help Morris with his football club at the weekends! Morris has inspired me to become a mentor and help other disabled people to be active – something I never thought I would do”

Morris said:  “I’m thrilled to have won this award, there are no words! Stephen’s journey has been amazing. He went from being this shy, unconfident person to someone who’s not afraid to get out there and try new things.

He motivates and teaches me new things, sometimes I forget who the mentor is! GOGA Peer Support has upskilled me, made me more employable and helped give me direction, this programme should be available to everyone.”

Morris has now progressed to the role of Mentor Co-Ordinator, helping Disability Rights UK to run the Peer Support Programme in Lambeth with local organisation Disability Advice Service Lambeth.

Kate Pieroudis, Disability Rights UK’s GOGA Peer Support Lead says: “This award rewards Morris’ commitment to supporting others, his excellent achievement as a mentor and demonstrates the ways that peer support- sharing experiences and skills and physical activity can change someone’s life.”

Volunteers are central to the GOGA programme. To find out more about our role in the partnership and the volunteering opportunities available, visit our GOGA page.