A YOUNG man with autism has been rewarded for his voluntary work.
Joe Butterworth is a keen and talented photographer and was presented with a Kirklees Adult and Community Learning Award at a special ceremony last week.
The 25-year-old, who lives with mum Sue and dad Allan on Bradford Road, Birstall, has been volunteering at various charities for the past five years besides caring for his grandma.
He started out working at the Oxfam warehouse in Batley and through that was able to volunteer at various festivals like Kendal Calling and Leeds Festival.
More recently he has worked with Kirklees-based Carers Count, helping with their social media and photographing events.
But his favourite volunteering position is photographing and videoing games at Brighouse Rangers rugby league club – which he does every Saturday and Sunday.
Joe says volunteering has completely changed his outlook on life.
He has been unable to find regular employment because of his autism condition, but he likens his voluntary work to having a full-time job.
“I’m a busy bee, it’s like having a full-time job,” Joe said.
“It’s really good for my anxiety because my mind is constantly focused.
“I’d recommend it to anyone who is feeling lonely or doesn’t know what to do if they don’t have any qualifications – do volunteering work and it will help.”
Joe was nominated for the award by Community Learning Works, an organisation in Kirklees which helps people struggling with work.
Joe also helps on a marketing project with Batley’s Bagshaw Museum and Batley Smile.
On receiving the award he said: “I feel like I’ve achieved something, it’s nice to be appreciated – that someone’s acknowledged it and I feel I’ve done my bit for the community.
“I’d recommend it to anyone who is starting from the bottom.
“A lot of people have had a bad time, a lot worse than me, and it was just very inspirational to see other people getting awards too.”