John Wills, a Mental Health Ambassador for Healthwatch Essex, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award offered by the Directory of Social Change (DSC).
“I am very humbled to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” said John. “I cannot thank enough, those people and organisations who have helped me so much over the years. Although this nomination is for what a single person has achieved, none of it would have been possible without the huge support I have had from others.”
John is the manager and lead bushcraft instructor of Greenpath Ventures, which offers outdoor activities, including the use of the best axes, bow and arrows and other exciting tools used in the wilderness. The service is fun for disadvantaged people and Project Lead for AARCA (Assisting Adult Recovery from Childhood Abuse) which offers a recovery workshop programme for adult victims of childhood abuse.
“It would be so wonderful for both organisations if we could win this and help challenge the negative stereotypes around victims of abuse and people who suffer mental health problems,” John said.
What makes John’s story truly inspiring, is that despite a catalogue of extensive achievements that include co-founding two charitable organisations, managing an award-winning charity (HEAL-Queens Award 2007), raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes and survival training in the Sahara, Amazon and Arctic (the latter two after breaking his back), his drive and personality hide a traumatic and troubled past. From the age of eight until 14, John was the victim of sexual abuse by a close “friend” of his family.
John is now writing a blog of his experience of surviving abuse to help other victims – check it out at http://johnwillssurvivor.blogspot.co.uk/
You can show your support for John and help determine who receives the award by taking part in the online public vote, which can accessed via the DSC website and ends on 23 January. The management teams of both organisations are urging people to vote for John who has made such an outstanding positive contribution to the community and helped rebuild so many people’s lives.
“I hope this nomination helps raise awareness around survivors and mental health and shows what people can achieve, if, they have the proper support,” said John. “For me, I was lucky enough to get help through Survivors UK and that was the turning point in my life”.
This link will take you directly to the voting page