John Taylor, Avenues Trustee, commended for work in the community - Avenues Group
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John Taylor, Avenues Trustee, commended for work in the community

Tuesday 25th of July 2017

John Taylor, Avenues Trustee received a commendation at Sevenoaks District Council’s Making it Happen Awards. Martin Chittell, Practice Development Lead for community at Avenues, nominated John for the Individual Community Champion award, which was presented by Len Goodman at the ceremony. We caught up with Martin and John to find out more …

John with Len Goodman

John with Len Goodman

Martin said: “John Taylor is quite simply one of the most kind and thoughtful people you will ever meet. For almost a decade he has been advocating on behalf of people with a learning disability, leading charities and volunteering his time to enable Sevenoaks to become a more welcoming place.”

John was a founder of the Sevenoaks District Partnership Group in 2007 and he was Chair of this group from 2014-16.

He works tirelessly to improve the lives of people with a learning disability by focussing on community-led projects that address health, employment, housing, being in control of your life (personalisation), citizenship and transition (young people becoming adults).

John has also done a range of work in the community to improve access for disabled people , including award-winning work with Kent libraries, supporting Sencio leisure centres, and mystery shopping to improve community access in public spaces.

John has also worked as a co-trainer on numerous occasions to help people learn about issues that affect people with a learning disability. One example being sessions about person-centred planning, a life building approach that enables people to call together those closest to them and plan what they want for their life.

He also co-led a whole community, family history learning course and celebration event run by Community Futures and Sevenoaks Library.

John served as a Trustee and Chair of Trustees for Community Futures, a local charity that supported the full inclusion of people with a learning disability in their communities. Here he helped with the running of many projects, including ‘Getting on Board’, which won a national award in 2014 for the way it supported people with learning disabilities across Kent.

He also worked on ‘Streets Ahead’ a community event designed to open access in Sevenoaks and ‘Touching the Past’, an inclusive family history project run in partnership with Sevenoaks library.

John has served as a Trustee at Avenues since 2009, was a member of the Sevenoaks Council District Access Group until 2016 and is currently volunteering at Lions Hospice charity shop in Sevenoaks.

He does all of this on a voluntary basis because it is important to him that Sevenoaks is a great place to live for everyone. John has lived experience of a disability and speaks with conviction on many community issues.

Martin said “His direct involvement and leadership have made him a role model and leader amongst his fellow citizens across Sevenoaks and beyond. Quite simply, John’s example is one that we should all be striving for.”

John said: “When I was called up on stage to accept the commendation I couldn’t believe it, I was really pleased! I love doing what I do, because I get to meet lots of new people. Through meeting new people I’ve learnt a lot and the people I work with are really important to me. Doing work in the community makes me feel like I’ve achieved something, I like helping other people, and it really helps build confidence.”

Congratulations John, keep up the fantastic work!