A Dorset volunteer has been honoured at the House of Lords for his commitment to vulnerable children and young people in the county.
Andy Dacombe acts as a mentor for looked-after children and a host for young people who are homeless through Action for Children’s Dorset Independent Visitors and Dorset Nightstop services.
His dedication was recognised at the House of Lords, where he was handed a Stephenson Award by the leading charity.
Lynn Giles, children’s services manager at Action for Children, said: “The Stephenson Awards, named for Action for Children’s founder Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson, celebrate the people who make our work possible.
“Seven awards were given to volunteers across the UK, with Andy named as the sole winner from the South West.”
Over the last year, Andy, who is from Blandford, has acted as a mentor for Dorset Independent Visitors, which has seen him support a young person in foster care through challenging times – including two placement moves.
Andy helped the young person get on to a college course, which has fuelled an ambition for the 17-year-old to attend university.
The young person has expressed feedback that he would not be where he is today without the support from Andy.
In addition, Andy is a host for Dorset Nightstop and provides showers, hot meals, emotional support and a safe, secure bed for the night to homeless young people aged between 16 and 25 years.
Lynn added: “He has provided countless bed nights and his generosity helps to keep extremely vulnerable young people safe during a time that can be terrifying and uncertain. He has even helped some of these young people find work and accommodation to completely turn their lives around.
“If that wasn’t enough, Andy has recently completed his training as a foster carer for Action for Children and will offer respite care as well as pre-sentencing placements for young people with a host of challenging needs.
“Throughout all of this, Andy places the needs of all the young people he supports first – they are at the heart of everything he does. I can think of no one better to receive this wonderful award. He truly deserves it.”