SIMON Davies has turned his life around and is putting the community spirit back into his town in the process.
Simon has battled drug and alcohol problems as well as depression in the past but decided last year that things had to change.
And change they did not just for Simon but for many other people he has since supported and helped.
“It took everything for me to drag myself out I knew that the life I had created had to change but it was lonely and I thought that there must be others like me so I decided to create positive things in my community,” said Simon.
Simon set up Hoyland Support and Social Group in December and has worked tirelessly to bring together the local community.
The group started meeting every Monday at Belmont Working Men’s Club in Hoyland, with the aim of reducing loneliness and giving members a safe space to talk about their worries.
And that was just the beginning the group now has boot camps on the Forge, five-a-side football at Hoyland Sports Centre and from May 31 there will be a new weekly meeting at The Hoyland Tap as well as free zumba and boxing classes at Jump Club every Wednesday evening.
Simon has also organised fundraising events to support local people going through difficult times.
A 15-mile sponsored walk is planned for June 3 with half the proceeds going to the club to help it carry on its work in the community and the other half going to Phil and Lisa Rudd and their family.
“Everything we do is free apart from the five-a-side football where the lads pay £5 each. We had an Easter party which was also free and 240 people turned up. And we’ll be holding a big summer fair in July,” said Simon.
“The way the group has grown and the things we have managed to do has surpassed anything I can even comprehend.
“Helping people and doing what I am doing is addictive. And it has helped me so much too from day one, I felt as though I had found myself again and I’d rolled back 15 years. I had lost myself and was just a shell but now I have my positivity back, I feel energetic and the person I used to be.”
Simon has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award in the Community Hero category.
The nomination from Kay Loades said: “It’s brilliant what this inspirational man and group are doing for our community. He has reached out and changed the lives of so many local people.
“The events he has organised and the support he is offering is amazing and absolutely mind blowing.
“Simon and his team work tirelessly to give Hoyland, adults and children too, a chance. Ears that listen, hands that help and a very personal feel. Simon Davies is one in a million.”
Simon said: “This means so much, it’s amazing.
“I’m really passionate about helping people, it brings me a lot of joy and gives me something to focus on, which is great for my own mental wellbeing.”