Learning from the best

I met with Noreen Oliver, the inspiration behind the pioneering Burton Addiction Centre, today.

 It’s the first time we’ve met since she received her lifetime achievement award from Iain Duncan Smith in his capacity as founder of the Centre for Social Justice.

 The award is well deserved. Noreen has built up the centres (there’s another in Newcastle-under-Lyme) from nothing. Her enthusiasm and passion has helped transform the lives of many people who have escaped from the horrible clutch of addiction.

 She has worked tirelessly and is now a recognised leader in the field. Staffordshire County Council has worked closely with BAC, and this has included finding work placements for people receiving their help.

 Noreen is a fantastic example of how people can use their own experiences and their own initiative to help others and as an authority we can learn from her example.

 Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the East Staffordshire Connecting Communities Festival, at which I was invited to say a few words before events got underway.

It was organised by East Staffs Racial Equality Council and was a wonderful showcase of how ethnically diverse the Burton area is.

 While I was there I also had the pleasure of meeting people from Burton Hospitals who were recruiting volunteers for the foundation trust. I also found out more about the support that is available for people from the varying ethnic communities who have made their homes in East Staffordshire.

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