2017 saw Preston Pride launch their first Lifetime Achievement Award; where representatives from the local LGBT Youth groups get to present to someone who has gone out of their way to help others in the wider Lancashire community. The first recipient was John Miller, also our You Inspire dedicatee for our Preston Pride edition of Podio.
After a 13-year career in teaching, John returned to Lancashire in 1996 and started re-training as a counsellor. In 1997 he was appointed to a part time
Lesbian Gay and Bisexual (LGB) young people’s worker post in Chorley and helped launch the POUT group, working with the group there and subsequently in Leyland until the recent Lancashire County Council staff restructure. Meanwhile he also took on a fulltime NHS post as a gay men’s community worker, based at the Health Promotion Unit in Chorley, developing Project Oscar into a well known local service providing information and support to gay and bisexual men.
In due course John became part of Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust’s Public Health team, working mainly on LGBT health and well being. Following redundancy there, he’s been working part time for Lancashire LGBT since late 2012.
In his youth work John saw hundreds of young people come through the doors of POUT over the years. When the group began most young people didn’t have mobile phones or internet access, and often arrived at the group not knowing another gay person, and pretty frightened. Nowadays the group has a number of trans and non-binary members.
How times have changed. As a worker and later manager at POUT John found himself in some interesting situations – including reaching the
top of a mobile climbing wall, leading the POUT paddlers to victory three years running in the Bell Boat race at Pride Youth Games, charging round a Laser Quest course firing at all-comers, taking the group down to London to support a member performing with the London Gay Symphony Orchestra, and dealing with various crisis situations for individual young people.
John is very interested in LGBT history, culture and sport, and has been presenting the LGBT show “Breakout” on Sunday nights on Chorley FM
since 2007. He shared his personal story as part of the the “Nowt So Queer” book produced by Age Concern Preston & South Ribble in 2008. He’s
performed a monologue as a gay miner for LGBT History Month. He joined Northern Aces gay tennis group in Manchester back in 2005 and has played
well over 40 LGBT tennis tournaments around Europe. His highlights were competing at the Gay Games in Chicago and Cologne, and the World Outgames in Montreal where he won a bronze medal, albeit “way down at level D”. He personifies the emphasis in LGBT sports on participation whatever one’s level. He even accidentally won a gold medal in the hammer at the Eurogames in Rotterdam, as there was nobody else in his age group
“I have worked with John for nearly 10 years and cannot think of a more worthy recipient of this award. John has worked tirelessly for many years supporting and working with LGBT Youth across Central Lancashire and has been of immense support to Lancashire Constabulary during this period.”
– Stuart Rutlidge, Lancashire Constabulary.
You Inspire is at the heart of Podio Magazine; celebrating local people who do good work, often without recognition nor the desire for recognition.
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