[Skip to content]
Joanna Mayes has devoted over 2000 hours of voluntary work since 2008, work which has seen her lead many projects and also recover from a traumatic past. it was this work which won her the YOPEY award 2010.
Jo got involved in volunteering following a traumatic experience at the age of 14. This resulted in her self harming, suffering from depression and being referred for mental health counselling.
She had always wanted to help people but it wasn't until a small child commented on her arms being bandaged that she started to make positive changes towards about her future.
Jo's school attendance had suffered but she managed to link up with NACRO and started doing talks in schools about self harming.
She began volunteering with disadvantaged young people with behaviour problems and was encouraged to do more.
Passionate about sport, she completed courses in football coaching, leadership and rugby to help her deliver some of her volunteering.
Joanna helps with the running of the Girls Zone health and beauty session and with Stratosphere, an alcohol free pub for young people aged 13 to 16 in the area.
She is secretary of Biggleswade Community Safety Group and has recently earned a place as volunteer police recruit.
To pass on the benefit of her own experience, she has applied for funding to set up mental health workshops for professionals and young people to support others who experience self harming.
"Volunteering has changed my life. I have managed to turn my life around and now I want to be able to inspire other young people who may have had or being having a difficult time. "