Marcus Wright from Deepdale has been nominated for the National Diversity Awards in the Positive Role Model category.Advertisement
The Preston man has gained recognition across the city for his dedication to charitable causes and raising awareness towards important issues.
Marcus told Blog Preston: “When I started to look back on my life I knew that I wanted to help people who needed help. Even doing small gestures could benefit someone greatly and have such a huge impact, I don’t stop because there’s always something you can do to help someone.”
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The 33-year-old began volunteering at Kidz4Kidz, a not-for-profit community theatre company based in Preston, produces shows run by volunteers involving the young people in efforts to keep them off the streets.
He said: “Knowing that I am being a role model for these kids I wanted to give people their chance, their spotlight and make people feel valued, loved, wanted and needed. What started out as a little work experience – 20 shows later I’m still at Kidz4Kidz volunteering every week.”
Blog Preston asked Marcus where his passion to help people comes from, and he said: “When I was younger I was hugely affected by depression, even pushed to attempted suicide. Conflicting with my own sexuality, physically and mentally bullied at school, and shunned by family it was really tough growing up.
“Coming to terms with my own sexuality was a huge step for me of acceptance and slowly I started to feel happier, I started to surround myself with positive people to keep me uplifted.”
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Marcus also founded his own podcast, Spill It, where he shares stories to inspire, educate and raise awareness to debate surrounding mental health, body confidence, trans rights, LGBTQ+ in sports, coming out stories, unsigned bands, music and mental health, living with disabilities and more. He uses his own experiences and stories from others to encourage conversation around issues like these.
Spill It was born in June 2020, in the midst of the national lockdown, as an online chat show where people could tune in, interact with Marcus, his guests and each other.
Marcus says his aim was to connect with people and be inspired by different guests from all walks of life while learning something new. Celebrities have even appeared on the show including Nathan Henry from Geordie Shore, Cast from RuPauls Drag Race UK, and more recently Hollywood actress Brianne Davis.
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Marcus realised that a lot of people ‘were trapped in their own little bubble’, being cooped up at home all day and shut off from the world as a result of the lockdown.
He said: “I have tried to create Spill It to be a safe space where people can come and chat and learn something new. It has educated people and people have truly felt inspired.”
Alongside his podcast and volunteering, the retail trainer from Preston doesn’t stop there, as he founded his own dance group, Dance:X, two years ago.
Marcus said: “I set out to do it myself, choreograph my own routines but keep the prices down to a minimum because people shouldn’t have to break the bank for having fun. There is a clear link between mental health and exercise, even myself, when I was younger used to dance.
“A friend of mine used to see what I was going through with high school bullies and more and she used to say to me “take it out on the dance floor” and that’s where my passion of dance started from. I wanted to create an environment that was friendly and people could come if they’ve had a bad day and just have fun.”
Unfortunately due to the pandemic it meant that the face-to-face classes could no longer continue and Marcus had to temporarily close the doors to Dance:X.
Although not even the lockdown could stop Marcus in his attempts to keep people smiling, as he moved his classes online in April 2020, with no fee for anyone who wanted to join in the virtual groove.
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“I danced in my front room and garden, to help people keep moving in their own homes. I wanted an easy accessible platform for people to keep moving for free. We were all worried and concerned with the future and I wanted to at the very least help people smile. So I did my online sessions twice per week. At the end of the sessions I would do a mental health check in with people just to make sure that they were okay.
“When we were allowed to, I started heading to Ashton Park to do the dance sessions and specifically invited people from the NHS to join in as a way to say thank you. We were outdoors in all weather, sunshine, rain, wind, we kept going because people needed it.
“My efforts with Dance:X won me the Pride of Preston award in 2020 and I was invited to switch the Preston Christmas Lights on by Smooth Radio which was amazing! Dance:X has continued to put smiles on people’s faces, and help people with their own metal health throughout the pandemic.”
His commendable efforts don’t stop there as Marcus tells Blog Preston about the mental health awareness program he implemented in his place of work: Wellness Wednesday. It’s a scheme he won an a trophy of excellence for to praise his hard work.
You can vote for Marcus via the National Diversity Awards website.
Proud Preston. This, and many stories like it, show how the people of Preston are making a difference. Our Proud Preston section showcases all the charitable, kind, uplifting and great things about our city and the people who live here. #ProudPreston is alive and well, and there’s much to celebrate and be proud of, despite the challenging times we all face.
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What do you think. if Marcus’ charitable efforts? Will you vote for him? Let us know in the comments.