A PROJECT run by a charity is playing a key role in helping volunteers get the most out of life.

Glenn Thompson, 33, who is profoundly deaf, is working with Durham Wildlife Trust after a link up with the specialist Health and Wellbeing team within Reaching Out Across Durham.

The scheme, Naturally Social, helps unemployed people from the area who are aged 25 and over by providing support with financial management and any educational or employment requirements.

ROAD Health Trainer Faye Smith was asked to support Glenn.

In her initial meeting with him, she identified that he lives a good quality of life but that there was some structure missing to his week.

On discussing options with his mother, Julie Thompson, who helps to communicate with sign language, Faye discovered that he loves the outdoors and has his own allotment where he likes to grow his own vegetables.

Faye suggested that Mr Thompson become part of the Naturally Social project, starting out with a scheme which involved heathland clearing to enable the heather to thrive on a site near New Kyo, Stanley.

Mr Thompson, from Tantobie, enjoyed his time so much that he requested to become a formal volunteer for Durham Wildlife Trust. Now, giving one and a half days each week, he works on the community allotment project in Annfield Plain and conservation sites in the local vicinity.

Ms Smith said: “We believe that there should be no barriers to people leading a fulfilled life.

“The development of this new relationship has been beneficial to both and I’m thrilled to have facilitated it.

Mandy Bell, who runs Naturally Social, said Mr Thompson has already made a huge difference.

She said: “He is enjoying the variety of duties and gets on well with the other volunteers.

“I feel so lucky to have gained such a fantastic worker like Glenn.

“Durham Wildlife Trust believe there are so many benefits to getting involved in a project like this one.”