June 2012: Justin Layzell

 Justin sitting at a desk in the Back Up office

"I started volunteering for Back Up as mentor a few years ago. I felt that I had enough experience since my injury to be able to share some of what I had learned with others. In March this year I started volunteering in the Back Up office supporting Kyra with the mentoring service one day a week. It has allowed me to view things from a different perspective.  I have been able to help provide mentors for people that really need to speak to someone who understands. This service really makes a difference to the lives of mentors and mentees."

Kyra says, “Justin has some really valuable people skills; people find him easy to talk to. He is a great listener and takes the time to understand some of the needs, fears, and hopes of the individuals he’s supported in mentoring, both as a mentor and an office volunteer”.

Justin has also assisted Beth to organise the launch event for the inclusive education toolkit three days a week. He explains, “This is a free, online resource for young people, schools and families to support the full inclusion of young people in mainstream school after injury.  The work we do really helps people when they need it and it improves their lives.  By sharing knowledge and examples of good inclusive education practice, hopefully someone with a new injury will find going back to school a little bit easier.”

Beth says, “Back Up is the only charity in the UK that provides dedicated services for children and young people with a spinal cord injury.  Justin has given an incredible amount of his time and expertise in supporting this event and we are extremely grateful.”

“Volunteering for Back Up has shown me how much of a difference I can make. Whether it is being or finding someone a mentor, assisting in the office, or finding the right person for this event I am happy that I have been able to use my time and experiences to give something back.”