June is probably the longest serving volunteer youth worker in Kirklees. She has been involved in youth work since 1963, as a worker, and since 1995 as a volunteer. That’s 54 years of continuous service to the young people of our district.
When asked what keeps her going, June said that the young people had become a huge part of her life. Being able to have contact with young people, give them help and advice and have fun with them, means she can leave her own problems behind and focus on them. She believes it doesn’t matter that there’s such a big age gap between herself and the young people, saying: “as long as you’re doing a good job, age doesn’t matter.” At the end of a night’s work, if she’s managed to help anyone, or give them the support they need, or beaten anyone at table tennis, she’s happy! The current staff confirm that June is a big hit with the young people, and has become something of a role model. Hannah Bettany, current Youth Worker in Holmfirth, said: “I don’t know what we’d do without her.”
As a youth worker, the greatest reward you can get is when the young people come back to you, when they’ve grown up, to tell you what you meant to them. As one grown-up young man said to June when she mentioned that she had no children of her own: “What do you mean, no children? You’ve got absolutely hundreds!”
This year June has been honoured with an Exceptional Service Award for her contribution to volunteering in Kirklees. June’s response to being granted the Award was: “By gum! I’m still valuable!”