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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Les McLeese

LES McLeese has been described as an “inspirational team leader” for all the effort and enthusiasm he puts into running support groups for young disabled people and children with learning difficulties.

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innovative thinking Les McLeese runs clubs for disabled people and children with learning difficulties ASHTON BOWRON REF: 50059589B005

Mr McLeese, 33, of Minster Lane, Barrow, runs the Adventures Youth Club at Burlington House, in Michaelson Road, as well as a youth group with the National Autistic Society.

Both groups help support children who often don’t attend any other social club, and Mr McLeese organises fun, inclusive activities at their meetings.

He leads a team of staff and volunteers who endeavour to keep attendees entertained.

Every Wednesday and Thursday night, the Adventures Youth Group opens its doors to children aged 11 or above with a disability. The club puts on arts and crafts workshops, discos, parties, and games.

Mr McLeese, who works for Nacro and Leonard Cheshire Disability, said he was thrilled to be nominated.

He said: “I was completely shocked. I never thought I would get this far by making the shortlist.

“My favourite thing about running the youth projects is the fact that I get to be a kid again myself.

“In running these groups it is important to think outside the box. We put on lots of different activities and trips throughout the year – for Valentine’s Day we did our own version of Take Me Out.

“Each young person has got their own individual needs and that brings challenges, but we work with them on a one-to-one basis.

“It is just brilliant seeing them grow into young, more confident adults.”

The Adventures Youth Group has around 40 members, and is inclusive, incorporating both disabled and non-disabled youngsters.

The Asperger’s Youth Club, which is run by Leonard Cheshire in partnership with the National Autistic Society and Nacro, has around 10 members, and is a forum for people with Asperger’s and their carers to meet.

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