Jono Lancaster of Normanton, who won the Unsung Hero Award in 2011, works with young people with a whole range of issues, talking to them about his own achievements and how he has overcome a rare congenital disorder to build a successful and fulfilling life and career.
Jono was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which leads to skull and facial deformities and hearing problems, and was put up for adoption just 36 hours after his birth.
His condition means that he has no cheekbones so his eyes droop and he has a bone-anchored hearing aid. He was bullied at school and taunted in public and rejected for a second time by his biological parents when he managed to track them down.
As well as helping to run a care home for people with autism, Jono now travels the world to share his experiences with other young people with Treacher Collins Syndrome and their families and with those facing other challenging issues.
The grant from the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation will help him to continue his work with young people in Yorkshire. Forthcoming events include joining young offenders in Hull at an orienteering event and speaking to students at the University of Sheffield.
Jono said: “Although my mum is amazing, I didn’t feel that I could talk to her about my own problems when I was growing up as I didn’t want to upset her. I find that many of the youngsters I talk to also feel isolated and they are very pleased to have an opportunity to talk to someone.”
The Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation supports young people and projects benefiting them across Yorkshire. The Foundation was established in 2010 and one of its main purposes is to give grants from the proceeds of the annual Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards. The Awards marked their 21st anniversary last year. To celebrate this, the Foundation aims to make 21 grants in 2013/14.