AN inspirational volunteer from Wirral who has dedicated 16 years of his life to helping people with disabilities and mental health issues has had his efforts recognised by the Prime Minister.
Dad-of-three Dave Nash is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers making a positive change in their community and inspiring others.
When Dave had a traffic accident at the age of 20 and broke his back, he went to Dale Farm - an organic farm that provides a day service for adults with disabilities or mental health issues to learn life skills - to volunteer as part of his rehabilitation.
He was so moved by the way the farm changed his life that he vowed to give the same experience to others.
Sixteen years later Dave has given thousands of hours of time for free, supporting the hundreds of adults who attend the centre and helping them manage the farm as a member of the Dale Farm Committee.
With his background in horticulture, he uses his knowledge to educate groups of adults about organic farming and in doing so builds their confidence and social skills.
Dave, who is the UK’s 75 Point of Light recipient, said: “Dale Farm provides an invaluable service within the Wirral area and I am proud to be part of the team.
“It’s a huge honour to be recognised as an exceptional volunteer and I hope to continue to offer support to the farm for many years to come.”
The new daily award has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA originally established by President George H. W. Bush.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “When Dave needed support sixteen years ago Dale Farm day centre was there for him. In return he has been a tireless supporter volunteering over 1,000 hours to help the centre go from strength to strength, passing on vital life skills to adults with disabilities and mental health issues.
“I’m hugely impressed with Dave’s dedication to Dale Farm day centre, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. I‘m delighted to name him the UK’s 75th Point of Light.”
Colin Smith, deputy manager at Dale Farm, added: “Dave is an incredibly nice guy who is totally committed to Dale Farm and all the people who are involved in our project.
“We have 40 plus volunteers at Dale Farm all who bring differing skills and value to the project.
“Dave is a natural leader, and his ability to share his knowledge, skills and bring out the best in others has been the key to his and other people’s success at Dale Farm.”