Martin Wray

Thank you Martin

A great sense of humour and a heart of gold ensures Martin is a true community champion

10 years ago, Martin Wray, from South Shields, established community interest company, Ocean Choices, to provide creative and life skills to people with learning disabilities in South Tyneside. It also provides day support for people living with dementia.

Martin has been nominated by volunteer at Ocean Choices, Ann Trollope.

Ann said: “Martin is the driving force behind Ocean Choices, his dedication to helping people in need is outstanding. He is a true inspiration. While our staff are furloughed and volunteers are no longer able to support Ocean Choices, he has set up Ocean Choices mutual support on Facebook and Messenger, to keep us all up-to-date with important information.

“Martin’s positive attitude and humour has kept our community together in these tough times. Not only that but Martin has delivered Easter gifts and fresh food and meats free of charge to all service users, as well as donating PPE materials that we have such as aprons and hand gels to care homes and care providers. He is a true South Tyneside star.”

Martin said: “Many of our service users don’t understand the complexity of what is happening around them. All of a sudden the stability of their safe place, Ocean Choices, has been closed and they are not sure why.

“In some cases, delivering food parcels to them from a socially acceptable distance, triggers their memory and reassures them that we are all still here. I also wanted to provide an online community for volunteers and service users to be able to engage with each other. Keeping the lines of communication open for them all really boosts everyone’s morale.

“We also had PPE such as hand gels and approximately 2000 aprons which we have donated free of charge to organisations such as care homes, which desperately need them.

“My motivation in life is to help people and add value and if I have helped to put a smile on someone’s face during the COVID-19 pandemic then that is great to hear.”

The Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Norman Dick, said: “On behalf of the people of South Tyneside, the Mayoress and I would like to convey our gratitude to you for finding new ways to help and provide reassurance to the community during this difficult time.

“As the Borough’s First Citizen, I would like to say a huge personal thank you for supporting service users, as well as supporting colleagues in care homes too. We are extremely #proud.”