VOLUNTEERING has become a huge part of Christopher Porter’s life, and despite living with a disability himself, he doesn’t let it get in the way of his passion to help others.

It is this dedication to others which has led Chris to be named this month’s Salt of the Earth.

The accolade is a partnership between North Yorkshire County Council and the Craven Herald to celebrate acts of kindness across our communities.

Someone or some body we regard as the ‘Salt of the Earth’ will be featured each month throughout the year.

Chris, 34, lives in Cross Hills and as a youngster attended Brooklands School and Aireville School, both in Skipton.

At Aireville, now called The Skipton Academy, he excelled in art and science which he followed up with a B-Tech in art and design from Craven College.

He is also something of an IT whizz, loving anything to do with technology.

Despite spending several days a week helping others for free, he still finds time to done some paid work.

These include working each Thursday as an admin assistant at Craven Home Care, in Earby, where his IT skills come in very useful.

He also works once a month for Exclusively Inclusive, a voluntary community group based in Skipton and co-ordinated by Katie Peacock.

Through Exclusively Inclusive, Chris helps a man in Sutton who has very complex needs. The man has a team of personal assistants to tend to his learning and physical disability needs and Chris’ role is as a ‘quality checker’ where he works with the team each monthly to check the support given is of the highest quality.

To be able to do this he attended a training course run by Paradigm to learn about the ‘Support for Living Standards’. He is now a member of the national GR8 Support Movement.

He has been involved with Exclusively Inclusive through its steering committee for a number of years and is co-chairman of the committee.

The days he doesn’t work are taken up by a myriad of volunteer roles.

He does half a day each week for South Craven Community Library sorting the books on the shelves and adding new stock and each fortnight helps deliver books to house-bound people.

“We take them three or four books each time and they are very pleased to see us. We have details on a data base so we don’t take them a book they’ve already read,” he said.

“I also help out at Oxfam, in Skipton, on a Friday morning, mostly in the stock room.

“I also write for the community magazine Craven Gazette.”

Chris is also involved with the North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board, of which he is vice-chairman. A number of other groups sit under the umbrella of the LDPB.

Craven Consulting Group of which he is chairman, is for self advocates across Craven and is supported by KeyRing Self Advocacy; Craven and Harrogate Local Area Group, which he also chairs. This group bring self advocates, family carers and paid supporters together.

He is also involved with the North Yorkshire Health Task Group including the LeDeR programme which aims to stop people with learning difficulties dying many years younger than the general population..

On top of this he attends the Self-Advocacy Forum and Healthier Lives meetings in Keighley and Bradford.

Katie Peacock, who works with Chris at Exclusively Inclusive said: “Christopher is self motivated and is a great motivator and encourager of others. He is 100 per cent reliable, kind, caring and compassionate and passionate about the rights of people who have learning disabilities and/or autism.

“He is always the first to volunteer to get stuck in with whatever is going on and is an absolute pleasure to work with. When we share our community development work together on Twitter we often us the hashtag #BeMoreChris.”

He is also involved in Fallfest, Glusburn’s annual festival of theatre, arts and live music which he says he particularly enjoys.

“I enjoy volunteering and helping other people and feeling I am doing some good,” he said.

“I have the energy and I’d like to think my volunteering will encourage other people, either able bodied or with a disability to do unpaid work.

“I don’t let my disability get in the way and enjoy the challenge. My parents are very supportive and encourage me,” he added.

Chris is also the recipient of one of the biggest community awards handed out in the district when last year he was named Craven Community Champions Awards Citizen of the Year 2018.

He was also runner-up in the Volunteer of the Year category at the same awards.

“I was thrilled to have won because I didn’t expect my name to be called,” he said.

Anyone who knows of someone they believe is the salt of the earth and deserves to be featured should nominate them via: SaltOfTheEarth@northyorks.gov.uk