Posted: 19.09.19 at 12:06 by Hannah Corfield
Founder of the Honiton based mental health charity, Open Arms East Devon, has been shortlisted for the national Groundwork Charity’s Community Awards.
Garry Wakeham was selected as a finalist for the Community Leader of The Year award - having made the top three - and will be attending the award ceremony in London in late November.
A spokesperson for the charity said: "We are so pleased that his dedication and determination to help people with mental health problems has been recognised in this way.
"Open Arms East Devon has been running for nearly three years and is based at Dunning Court Community Centre in Honiton.
"We are open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am till 4pm. We have grown from a mere four people to now having more than 60 members.
"This is all done on a voluntary basis and Garry prides himself on ensuring that the service is free for people to attend."
Speaking about what it means to him, Garry said: “I’m so pleased about our nomination and that Open Arms East Devon is being recognised nationally by Groundwork.
"It makes all the time and effort worthwhile.
"Although, I am more interested in gaining awareness and the necessary funding for the future of our charity, than the award itself.
"I have seen how Open Arms has changed people’s lives - people have grown in confidence and now enjoy meeting with others.
"Being able to relax and learn new skills, or even help others develop their skills is really beneficial.
"People tell me that they are doing things they have not done in years and I have often been told that Open Arms is their safe place.
"I hope to build on this and try to attract some sponsors to enable Open Arms to stay a free service for the people of East Devon.”
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