North Somerset Black and Minority Ethnic Network, Tyne & Wear’s Forward Assist, and the Cymer Afan Community Library are among 2020’s recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, announced during this week’s Volunteers’ Week.
A total of 230 organisations from across the UK have been given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year.
Coinciding with Volunteers’ Week, which takes place from 1-7 June, this year’s Award celebrates the work of a diverse range of volunteer groups whose work has enhanced and supported local communities over a number of years. Many of those honoured have adapted their services to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Award recipients include:
- Forward Assist, in Tyne and Wear, which set up a virtual support service for veterans in the community, in which a therapist checks in with ‘safe and well’ calls and offers one-to-one counselling. It has also arranged food parcels, offered financial advice and updated CVs for vulnerable, isolated veterans.
- The Cymer Afan Community Library, which repurposed its building, staff and volunteers to transform the library into a temporary food bank for the community when a local food bank closed in Neath Port Talbot because its volunteers were self-isolating.
- North Somerset Black and Minority Ethnic Network, which has supported the local community with advice and assistance over the phone as well as delivering over 5000 hot meals to vulnerable people, free of charge.
- Eglinton Community Centre in Derry-Londonderry, which has been running online dance exercise classes to support the mental health and wellbeing of older people who usually attend the centre.
- Gairloch Community Car Scheme in the Scottish Highlands, which has adapted its car service to collect and deliver groceries, pharmacy items and other shopping for those isolated during the pandemic. They have also extended the area they cover to a 150-mile radius to ensure the more remote, outlying families can access help.
The recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service are announced every year on 2 June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.
Any volunteer-led group comprising two or more people having a positive impact on the lives of others in an exceptional way can be nominated for an award. More details can be found on the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service website.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair Sir Martyn Lewis, said:
“This year’s Queen’s Awards highlight the considerable achievements of groups of volunteers who have been making a real impact to the fabric of our country for many years – in some cases decades. Inspired by all that is best in the human spirit, they are made up of local people who have come together to address particular issues and problems facing their communities – often in new and imaginative ways.
“All of these award winners have demonstrated a long-term commitment to volunteering that gives real meaning to society, and which shows Britain at its best. Moreover, some of them have also managed to provide valuable support with the fight against Covid-19.”
Nominations for the 2021 awards close on 25 September 2020.
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