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DR UKs GOGA project winner at the Torch Trophy Trust awards

08 March 2018

Disability Rights UK is thrilled to announce that one of our star mentors on the Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Peer Support Project has won a prestigious Torch Trophy Trust award for Outstanding Contribution to Inclusivity.

Morris receives his award from HRH Duke of Gloucester

The GOGA Peer Support Project, run by Disability Rights UK, in partnership with Activity Alliance (formerly English Federation of Disability Sport) trains active disabled people to become mentors to work one to one with another disabled person who wants to be active but might be experiencing barriers such as low confidence.

Morris Nelson, 49, from Lambeth, South London has been a mentor to Stephen Wells. 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 5 different roles over the past 3 years including setting up a football club, Furzedown United.

GOGA Peer Support Lead Kate Pieroudis and Morris Nelson at the award ceremony

He and Stephen started working together in June 2017 by taking up yoga- an activity new to both of them. Within 3 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. “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 says “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 has started volunteering and has even come forward now to become a mentor himself. 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”  

Two Champions - Sir Bobby Charlton and Morris

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. Both he and Stephen share their story and experiences of mentoring to train and inspire new mentors to sign up and help with outreach, raising awareness of the project to professionals interested in peer support.

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, volunteering and physical activity can change someone’s life. The GOGA Programme is a great example of partnership working, bringing together expertise from EFDS and 10 other national partners of which Disability Rights UK is one”

The Torch Trophy Trust was founded in 1962 commemorating the two 1948 Olympic torches made for the last leg of the Olympic relay, one presented to a Commander Collins, who presented it to the Torch Trophy Trust. He believed the Olympic ideal, symbolised by the torch, could also be an inspiration for men and women working quietly in their own small corners of the world of sport.

For press enquiries or more information, please contact:

Kate Pieroudis, Peer Support Lead, Disability Rights UK on 07715 960710 or kate.pieroudis@disabilityrightsuk.org.uk

Stephen Wells and Morris Nelson

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