Belfast Telegraph

Barnardo's volunteer Lee finds his true calling

Lee Maddocks from Newtownabbey, Volunteer of the Year

By Staff Reporter

Lee Maddocks has won the Marsh Trust NI Regional Volunteer of the Year Award. The 29-year-old has been recognised for his role with Barnardo's Newtownabbey Family Connections service.

The service - based in Newtownabbey High School, Rathcoole PS, Whitehouse PS and Abbotts Cross PS - offers support via parenting programmes, after schools clubs and providing family and education support.

Lee said: "The Barnardo's team at Family Connections have been brilliant, they have given me opportunities and encouraged me.

"When I started initially they saw something in me that I didn't know was there and through my experience I've found that I have an aptitude for working with young people and that's definitely where I see my career going now.

"One of the best things for me was one boy who would have been on his own a lot, helping him integrate in the Games Club and then a year later seeing him walking down the school corridor in a group of friends and knowing I played a small part in that.

"It's realising that through small interactions you can leave a fingerprint on someone's life and make a positive impact and that's a real privilege."

Lee urged anyone thinking of volunteering to go for it.

"It might seem like a big commitment at first but it's not - one or two hours a week is really nothing and that domino effect won't happen if you don't do it.

"Volunteering will impact more upon you more than you can imagine."

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