L1SBURN man Paul McCarroll received a medallion as a 'Churchill Fellow' at a prestigious event in London's Guildhall last month, after he spent six weeks travelling in Canada and the USA thanks to funding from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
Paul, who works with the Boys Brigade at their headquarters in Belfast, as well as being a Company Captain with 3rd Lisburn BB, travelled to several major cities in North America after he received £5,000 towards his journey, where he worked with voluntary groups, analyzing how they recruit and retain volunteers.
The Trust is the living national memorial to Sir Winston Churchill and its main focus is devoted to the Travelling Fellowship scheme.
The Travelling Fellowship scheme gives the opportunity for some 100 men and women each year, from all walks of life and every corner of the United Kingdom, to travel abroad in pursuit of their professional or personal interests for the benefit of their community, the country as a whole and their own personal development.
Paul, who said he "couldn't have done this" without the support from the Trust, was one of 91 Churchill Fellows who were presented with silver Churchill medallions by the Duchess of Cornwall on Friday May 21.
Paul stated: "I spent six weeks in the summer of 2008 travelling to the major cities meeting with volunteer organisations to learn how they recruit and retain volunteers."
During the six weeks Paul visited organisations in Toronto, New York,
Washington DC and Boston, including the Greater New York Council of Boys
Scouts America, the Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, Boston Cares and Scouts of Canada.
"Obviously from this experience I've got to bring back the best parts and strengthen my own organisation here,' said Paul.
"I simply couldn't have done this without the grant and help from the fellowship. Right from the outset they were a very professional organisation and the support they gave, and continue to give, is second to none."
Paul added: "I learned about the Trust when I started in the Boys Brigade as the Chief Executive was a fellow in 1976, back in the early days of the Trust and he encouraged me. This was certainly something I wanted to do to widen my horizons and my scope of what else is out there and how others do recruit and retain their volunteers, but it wouldn't have been possible without the Trust."
Applications are currently open for the 2011 Travelling Fellowships. There is no age limit with the recipients ranging from 17-81 years old. Fellowships average six and a half weeks and £5500 in grants.The closing date for applications is October 5 2010. Those interested can apply online at www.wcmt.org.uk, by post sending a SAE to: Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, 15 Queen's Gate Terrace, London, SW7 5PR.
LEFT - Paul McCarroll at the presentation of his medallion for being a 'Churchill Fellow' and above, at Niagara Falls in June 2008.