Nine voluntary groups from across the county who work in the community have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The nine groups are:
- Beacon House Ministries – established in Colchester 22 years ago to help the homeless and those less fortunate.
- Essex Search and Rescue – 74 highly trained volunteers who respond to calls from the police to search for vulnerable missing persons 365 days a year.
- Footprints Community Group – have been working in Rochford for 12 years providing activities for young people to make a positive impact on their lives.
- Grant A Smile – provides free house cleaning and emotional support for families living with serious or terminal illness.
- Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service – have been in existence for over 30 years and provide counselling support to young people, adults, and families.
- Hearing Help Essex – alleviates isolation and loneliness for thousands of people who suffer hearing loss across the county.
- SOS Rape Crisis – established in Southend in 2011 and provides sexual advisory services to young people and adults.
- Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome – more than 150 volunteers have transformed a semi-derelict World War 1 aerodrome into an amazing historical attraction.
- Teen Talk, Harwich – started 22 years ago and provides early intervention and emotional support to 11 to 25 year olds with complex and vulnerable lives.
The nine groups from Essex are amongst 281 charities, social enterprises, and volunteer-led groups to receive the prestigious award this year across the UK. The number of awarded groups have increased again this year, demonstrating the continuous expansion and value of the voluntary sector in today’s society.
This award is given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service within their communities. The recipients of the award are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Representatives of the nine winning groups in Essex attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this years Award.
The nine Essex winners will receive the Award from Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, later this summer.
Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex said:
“The announcement of nine winners of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest national award for voluntary groups, across Essex is a wonderful tribute to the outstanding work of the voluntary sector. Only one other county in the UK had more winners than Essex which speaks volumes for the excellence of volunteering in our county and the increasing importance of the work of volunteers for community wellbeing. I am delighted that nine extremely deserving groups, who are providing a wide range of services to our communities have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen. I look forward to presenting the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services to each of the groups over the coming months and to be able to celebrate their success with their volunteers and many who receive their excellent service”.
Vivienne Wiggins, Chief Executive Officer, Beacon House Ministries, said:
“Beacon House is delighted to have received this honour. It’s a welcome encouragement for the work we do with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our community. This award recognises our compassionate and caring approach, and I hope that other can be inspired to treat all members of their community with kindness and respect”.
Helena Goodwin, Vice Chairman, Essex Search and Rescue, said:
“Essex Search and Rescue are extremely proud and honoured to receive recognition by receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. We are professionally trained volunteers responding 24/7 to help the police search for high risk vulnerable missing people, predominantly in Essex”.
Patricia Thorn, Chairman, Footprints Community Group, said:
“Footprints Community Group is honoured and delighted to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. The group consist of volunteers who provide help, advice, and positive activities for young people and their families who live in the Rochford area”.
Joyce Obaseki, Director, Grant A Smile, said:
“This prestigious award means a lot to us and we are truly delighted and honoured to receive it. We don’t just clean homes, we provide practical support that strengthens and gives hope to families. The impact is outstanding, people feel less depressed, feel supported and this helps the emotional, mental and psychological wellbeing of parents and children”.
Sue Newth-Gibbs, Chair of Trustees, Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service said:
“We are delighted and proud to receive this award. We hope that it will enable us to further raise the profile of our service by reaching out to support more people in the community and attracting potential donors and grant providers. We celebrate our 30th anniversary in July 2019 and this is a very special birthday present”.
Sophie Biebuyck, Chief Executive Officer, Hearing Help Essex, said:
“We are immensely proud to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in recognition of the hard work of our volunteers and staff, without whom we simply could not provide the range of services for those living with or affected by hearing loss. To see the life changing work our charity provides has been given national recognition is a tremendous honour”.
Laura Burroughs, Service Manager, SOS Rape Crisis, said:
“Everyone at SOS Rape Crisis is extremely proud to have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. The whole team, volunteers, trustees and sessional and contracted staff are committed to providing specialised sexual violence support for all ages as well as providing awareness raising and training opportunities”.
Ian Flint, Chief Executive Officer, Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, said:
“We are an organisation that is proud to put its volunteers at the heart of every aspect of its endeavour. We are truly volunteer-led, from our Board of Trustees across to the Estates Team. This award is a wonderful celebration of their dedication and I am proud to be part of their team”.
Hayley Lovett, Chief Executive Officer, Teen Talk, Harwich, said:
“We are incredibly proud to receive this prestigious award for the outstanding achievements for volunteering. To be recognised by this award is a real honour and something to share with all who play a role in Teen Talk. This important recognition and endorsement by Her Majesty will contribute towards meeting our mission in improving the lives of young people in Tendring”.