Community-spirited volunteers from across Essex are in the running to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services – the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary organisations.
Three groups are nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) in recognition of the outstanding work they do in their communities.
The Queen’s representative in Essex, Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, and the Chairman of Essex County Council, Cllr John Aldridge, hosted a reception at County Hall for the nominees and past QAVS winners on Tuesday, 27 February to thank them for making a huge difference to people’s lives in the county.
Essex’s nominees for the awards, which will be announced in June, are:
- Thurrock Mind: The 190 volunteers of Thurrock Mind, a mental health charity, provide a diverse range of services, from counselling to gardening projects, to support more than 2,000 people each year to change lives and improve wellbeing in the Thurrock area. They have been operating since 1980
- Stanford, Corringham and Tilbury Community First Responders: These 12 volunteers respond to 999 calls to the ambulance service to reach potentially life-threatening emergencies in their area in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrives. In 2017 they worked more than 2,300 hours and treated more than 400 people
- One Community Development Trust: This is a locally grown initiative, created by community and voluntary groups and Tilbury and Chadwell residents, for the benefit of local people across southern Thurrock in particular. They never turn anybody away and they do what people need, giving support and advice on benefits, jobs clubs, mentoring and many other things
The Lord-Lieutenant said: “It was wonderful to be able to recognise the achievements of these organisations and their volunteers and I hope it raises awareness of these prestigious awards to encourage people to nominate groups of deserving volunteers.”
Cllr Aldridge added: “It was an honour to meet so many public-spirited and inspiring people who go above and beyond for the benefit of everyone in their communities.
“These volunteers give up their own time to provide vital support to vulnerable members of our communities across Essex, Southend and Thurrock.”
Any group doing volunteer work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award.