Pair who performed 2,000 hours of voluntary work win national award

Two volunteers are celebrating after winning a national award for their dedicated service.

Martin Floyd and John Totney, from Oldbury, have delivered 2,000 hours of voluntary work over the past year at Sandwell Leisure Trust site on Newbury Lane.

The pair have won the Volunteer of the Year Award 2017 run by Sporta - the association that represents cultural and leisure trusts and social enterprises throughout the UK.

There are more than 1,800 Sandwell disabled residents who benefit from free access to many activities through the Portway Pass membership scheme and Martin and John have helped assist them.

Martin was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, which affects mobility and coordination, and is a wheelchair user who applied for the volunteering role after several visits to the gym.

The 44-year-old said: “I’m over the moon, but also pleasantly surprised, as we were up against some huge organisations with a lot more personnel and budget than us – so it’s even more gratifying that the quality of service we’re able to provide has been appreciated and recognised.”

The volunteer team at Portway do a lot of meeting and greeting, but the role has evolved of late and they actively support many of the groups who use the facility.

John, now retired, lives on Newbury Lane very close to Portway Lifestyle Centre and has been in the role since it opened in 2013.

He has many other roles including the local church, and library - using his time there to continually promote Portway’s facilities locally. John will go out of his way to encourage local people to use the facility and will ensure that all new customers are properly welcomed.

The 68-year-old said: “I’m chuffed to bits too, as I know through my own past experiences that a little bit of encouragement goes a long way.

"Whilst working as a volunteer I have watched on as customers develop both their own fitness and gain in self- confidence and it’s a real joy to behold."

John and Martin also helped with the launch of the 60+ multi-activity club, which continues to grow with over 30 people attending every week.

Ash Rai, CEO for Sandwell Leisure Trust, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Sporta has recognised the hard work and commitment of our community volunteers, because this award is very well deserved.

"John and Martin ensure that all of our customers get a warm welcome when they visit Portway and even with 50,000 annual disabled visits alone they have been able to provide additional personalised support to those who need it.

"Both are wholly committed to the centre and are excellent role models on how participating in sport and physical activity can have a positive and tangible impact on health and well being.”

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