Seven local groups were honoured at a special reception last week to celebrate their recent nominations for a royal award.
The groups were invited to the reception to thank them for their commitment to helping their community and to celebrate their recent nominations in the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).
The QAVS is a national honour equivalent to an MBE for volunteer groups. Since the award was created by the Queen to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002, more than 600 groups in England have been recognised.
The reception was hosted by Essex County Council Chairman Cllr John Aldridge and Lord Petre KCVO, The Lord Lieutenant of Essex.
Cllr Aldridge said: “It was a real pleasure to celebrate these groups and thank them for all they do. The people who run these groups and volunteer their time to help others are truly inspirational, and it is very humbling to see what wonderful, selfless people we have in our county. I wish them all the very best of luck in the awards.”
Cllr Anne Brown, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “It is great to see voluntary groups from Essex nominated for this national and very prestigious award. All of the groups, in their own ways, make a real difference to their local community and for that I thank them and wish them all the best for the awards.”
This year there are 7 nominated groups from Essex.
The nominated groups are:
Crossing Boundaries in Westcliffe on Sea is a Baptist Church group who support 130 people in their local community.
Rayleigh Baptist Church Carers Café is a Baptist Church group who provide a haven of support, hope and understanding to those who are carers and those cared for. Over 60 people benefited directly last year.
Feeding Buddies in Southend on Sea consists of around 60 volunteers both young and old who work in partnership with ward staff, patients and carers to provide extra support to encourage and assist patients with eating and drinking whilst in Southend University Hospital.
1341 Thundersley Air Cadet Squadron in Benfleet sees a group of 7 dedicated volunteers provide a caring and educational environment to enable 40 to 50 teenage cadets to develop and discover new and exciting hobbies.
Patient Panel in Harlow is a group of 20 volunteers working in partnership with the staff at the Princess Alexander Hospital, using their experience and ability to represent patient needs, especially in the ‘end of life’ care, co-production of new or improved systems, providing patient information and encouraging the involvement in voluntary groups in patient care.
Razed Roof in Harlow is a group of 5 paid staff and 37 volunteers who provide an inclusive performing arts group for people with and without severe learning difficulties and disabilities, providing valuable opportunities to improve the quality of life for those involved and demonstrating the positive impact of inclusion and engagement in the wider community.
One Community Development Trust in Tilbury is a place where people with any problem can turn whether this be issues with benefits, jobs, mentoring, family issues, events, credit union, they will always find a way to help and no-one will be turned away. Three paid staff and 22 volunteers provide this valuable service.
All 7 groups will find out if they are successful in June 2017, with the awards taking place during the summer months.