Greg's volunteer work with the unemployed is recognised

Greg Swift
Greg Swift

A dedicated volunteer who has spent more than 20 years helping unemployed people gain new skills has been recognised by the Queen.

Greg Swift, from Billinge, will become an MBE for services to the community in Skelmersdale.

He is chairman of Quarry Bank Community Association and has been involved for 24 years, playing a key role in setting it up. It is a community-based project for unemployed people, helping them to gain the skills and confidence needed to secure work.

Mr Swift, 73, said: “Over the last four or five years we have had 4,000-plus people using the premises. Of those, we know of 120-plus who have gained employment. There will probably be others but we don’t know about them.”

Quarry Bank House, where the association is based, hosts free drop-in sessions for people to learn basic computer skills and educational programmes are delivered by colleges and two mental health charities. There are plans to provide more courses for unemployed people in 2020, including woodwork and engineering skills.

Mr Swift, a married great-grandfather, has worked with West Lancashire companies to arrange apprenticeships, with 140 positions secured so far.

He has also secured funding for the upkeep of the building, to landscape the gardens and create an open-air theatre.

A retired teacher, he was nominated for the prestigious honour by volunteers and other people associated with Quarry Bank.

He said: “The Cabinet Office called me to tell me. I was a bit taken aback to be honest. I certainly wasn’t expecting anything of that nature.”

He is now waiting to find out when he will receive his award at Buckingham Palace.