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Norwich father named BBC Radio Norfolk’s education volunteer of the year

PUBLISHED: 23:04 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 23:05 05 December 2018

Chris Forster talking with Archbishop Justin Welby during his visit to YMCA Norfolk’s My Place in Norwich recently. Picture by Keith Morris.

Chris Forster talking with Archbishop Justin Welby during his visit to YMCA Norfolk’s My Place in Norwich recently. Picture by Keith Morris.

Archant

A young father who became a YMCA volunteer after being helped by the service has been named BBC Radio Norfolk’s education volunteer of the year.

Chris Forster, 23, from Lakenham, Norwich, became involved with the charity following a break-up with his partner shortly after his daughter was born.

The YMCA provided him with a room, helped him deal with his anger issues, reconcile with his partner and eventually restore his relationship with her.

Since then, he has been volunteering with the charity’s youth clubs across Norfolk.

And following his work over the past 18 months, he has now been named BBC Radio Norfolk’s education volunteer of the year - just two weeks after meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Mr Forster was told he was a winner last month by BBC presenter Nick Conrad, who broadcast an interview with him and his youth engagement worker Charlie Wall.

“Volunteering with the youth clubs makes me happy and I love the kids’ reactions when they get excited and look forward to what we do at the clubs,” Mr Forster told Radio Norfolk.

“We now have two youth clubs open almost every day from King’s Lynn and Norwich to Great Yarmouth.”

Mr Wall told Radio Norfolk: “Chris was keen to volunteer to get some qualifications so he could go on to support his own young children. He showed promise and dedication with his youth club volunteering so I invited him to do a youth work traineeship, level two.

“He completed this successfully and YMCA saw his potential and wanted to invest in him, so we invited him to do a level three apprenticeship, which he is currently on.

“Chris is dedicated to his work and makes a real difference – he comes in, is passionate and wants to work. This award is well deserved.”

Mr Forster added: “I already get a really good feeling about what I do, to have it recognised with an award is incredible.

“I hope to continue working for the YMCA, complete my apprenticeship and maybe work in housing as without the YMCA housing team I would not be where I am today.

“The YMCA is showing me the light at the end of the tunnel. It has given me a hope, given me a future, given me a career and given me my family back.”

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