112 outstanding UK voluntary groups are today honoured as recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services 2012. Now in its 10th year, it has given out 1,092 Awards in total.
This unique UK National Honour was created by Her Majesty to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers. It has the equivalent status to that of a single MBE.
The recipients being honoured in Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock today are:
The Manningtree Community First Responders
Gateway Community Radio, Basildon
Homeless Action Research Project (HARP), Southend-on-Sea
Havens Hospices, Southend-on-Sea
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged to be of the highest standard.
Those receiving the Award were selected from 250 groups nominated across the UK this year by members of the public who have seen the difference the volunteers have made to the lives of others or witnessed the benefits of a group’s work in their community. The Award is overseen by the Office for Civil Society, in the Cabinet Office. Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:
“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all this year’s winners of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The work of our volunteers makes a huge difference right across society, and they are an inspiration to others to get involved and make their own positive impact.”
Of the Essex-based recipients of the Award, Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant for the County of Essex, said:
Manningtree First Responders
“It gives me great pleasure on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, to be presenting the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services to the Manningtree Community First Responders. Not only do they provide an essential, 24/7, life saving service to the public in their area by responding to Category ‘A’ emergency calls to the Ambulance Service and arriving within 8 minutes but, they are staffed entirely by volunteers, and they even provide support to other similar groups who are starting up and those who need additional guidance to attain the high level consistently achieved in Manningtree. The work of the group is truly inspiring”.
Gateway Community Radio, Basildon
“Gateway Community Radio are fitting winners of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. Although they started in 1999 they have had to overcome a number of obstacles to become an established and valued community radio station for Basildon and Thurrock. Gateway is led by three directors, two of whom are the founders and the station is run entirely by around 200 volunteers. Working for Gateway provides a volunteer experience for the young and not so young to develop skills, gain confidence and make a useful contribution to the community. In addition, Gateway provides educational and training programmes, enabling many young people to gain qualifications, provides local road-shows and a good and balanced local information service to the wider community. Gateway provides an exceptional community service”.
Homeless Action Research Project (HARP), Southend
“HARP provides a comprehensive, professional and essential service to the homeless in Southend. More than 40 volunteers, supported by a small, well-led paid staff team, provide a night shelter, supported accommodation for many vulnerable people, a day hostel, a large charity shop, outreach medical facilities and daily meals for over 2,000 people each year. Many of the volunteers have previously benefited from the service provided by HARP which creates an understanding and caring environment for those using the service. Without HARP the lives of many would be blighted without the hope, the critical support and a pathway to a better life. HARP provides an outstanding and essential service to a vulnerable and needy sector of the community in Southend”.
Havens Hospices, Southend
“The work done by the hospices is well known and admired. What is not so well known is that some 650 volunteers, performing duties from trustee to shop assistant, complementary therapist, chaplain, bereavement support, fund raiser and many, many more, enable the hospices to carry out their essential work. The work done by the hospices and their volunteers is exceptional and deserving of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services”.
Winners will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenants in their Counties at special ceremonies arranged by the Lieutenancy offices and in the Countries of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The Lieutenant Governors of the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey will also make individual presentations.
Group representatives will also have received invitations to attend Royal Garden Party events and some will have had personal presentations to Her Majesty during her Royal Tour of the regions of the UK.
For details of the Award winners and information on how to nominate a local group, visit www.direct.gov.uk/qavs. Nominations for 2013 are now being accepted, and the closing date is 30th September 2012.
In celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, a new Award, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award 2012 was announced in February. National recognised voluntary organisations and charities involved in promoting volunteering in the UK can apply online, details are on the above website.