Lancashire volunteer wins Red Rose Award
Marc Bardsley has won the Above and Beyond Award for his work with Young Addaction Lancashire supporting young people and families affected by drug or alcohol use. Marc was presented with the accolade at the Red Rose Thanks Giving Awards ceremony.
The 40-year-old has helped develop the Future Foundations Project, supporting children and families across Lancashire where there are parental alcohol issues. In his two years volunteering, he’s also worked alongside Addaction staff shadowing and supporting them whilst learning all about the service, he’s represented the charity at a host of community events promoting the help available, and delivers group work with young people around the county educating about the harms of alcohol and drugs.
Marc said: “I didn't realise what impact alcohol is having on young people. I didn’t realise the scale. Every shop you pass seems to sell it, and cheaply. It’s in your face all the time. When you’re younger and you have your first drink, they all give you a cheer, but a few years later when you’re on the floor in a mess people don't want to know you anymore.
“By sharing my own challenges with alcohol and raising awareness about the support available, I hope to spread the message that things in life might go wrong but there’s always a way to make it better.”
Marc has also helped raise money for Young Addaction by taking part in a 50mile walk and is planning to run several marathons over the next year.
Claire Helme-Fawcett from Young Addaction Lancashire said: “We’re so proud of Marc and grateful for his enormous contribution to the service. He’s an inspiration to many and shows so much compassion to young people - they really enjoy working with him.”
Marc has overcome his own problem with alcohol. He said: “For a number of years I didn’t realise I had a problem. It escalated over 10 years and slowly got out of control, but I didn’t like to admit it.
“I started to feel unwell and it was affecting my health, family life and work. One of the biggest things was I felt I wasn’t in control, that the drink was controlling me and I didn’t see any way out. Knowing I had a little boy, I wanted to do it for him and for myself so I could have a life with him. It was incredibly hard, but the volunteering has been a huge part of giving me back confidence, self-esteem and a range of skills and experience.
“My little boy is three now and he’ll never know me other than sober, confident and able to listen and empathise with other people’s worlds.”