Local volunteer, Chris Johnson, has been awarded the v award for his hard work and dedication to leading charity, Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Chris, 23, has been volunteering at Newlife’s Opportunity Centre since it opened to complete the 15 Hour Award with Staffordshire vinvolved. The v awards ran by an independent charity, is a national recognition for volunteering services undertaken by young people across England. In Staffordshire, v is hoping to inspire 16-25 year olds volunteer and promote positive contributions within the local community, such as the work exemplified by Chris. Based at Newlife’s main site in Hemlock Way, Cannock, the Opportunity Centre is a new facility that opened in October 2008, providing a space for people to volunteer and learn new skills in a safe and social environment. Following a referral from the Job Centre, Chris has been working six hours a day de-labelling clothing to gain work experience to assist with a reference in a bid to increase his options for future employment. Chris Johnson said: “I have been able to meet new people, gain new skills and have fun while being able to gather valuable references. This accreditation from the v awards is definitely an achievement that I am proud of. I will am now going to continue with Newlife to reach the v50 award – 50 hours worth of volunteering.” Jane Reynolds, Chase and South Staffordshire Youth Volunteer Advisor said: “I am delighted with the response to the V Awards, and encouraged by the volume of Young People that currently volunteer, or have expressed an interest in volunteering. V are hoping to create new and diverse volunteering opportunities for Young People countywide. I would like to speak to organisations that have volunteering vacancies or have 16-25 year olds who volunteer within their organisation – they may be entitled to work towards the awards. I am based in the Chase CVS in Chadsmoor, you can contact me on 01543 500404”. The Opportunity Centre is open for people from all walks of life including retirees, part-time workers, the disabled and anyone that has a flair for art. For more information or if you would like to get involved, please contact Heather Campbell at Newlife on 07980 259659.