02 Jun 2021 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Four Shropshire Groups have been awarded the prestigious, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The groups honoured with the award are:-
Shrewsbury Drapers Company
Shrewsbury Food Hub
Bright Star Boxing Academy
The Red House Community Centre (Run by Albrighton Village Hall’s Trust)
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups and is awarded for life.
It is awarded to outstanding groups of volunteers whose level of initiative and impact are truly exceptional. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community. Volunteers are expected to be leading its work. The awards will be presented locally by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Mrs Anna Turner JP, at dates to be arranged in the Summer. Each group receives a crystal and a certificate signed by HM The Queen.
The Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Anna Turner JP said, “I am delighted that four Shropshire groups have been awarded, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year. This prestigious award is richly deserved by each of the groups, who have made a real difference to so many people in the county of Shropshire.”
The Shrewsbury Drapers provide sheltered housing for the elderly, preserve the heritage of the Guild and their historic Hall and promote a textile design completion. They have been running since 1462. The 52 almshouse beneficiaries are vulnerable elderly people who are selected on the basis of need. The newest block of almshouses, Drapers Place, opened in 2016 and was awarded the Almshouses Association Patron’s Award by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2019. Locals and visitors benefit from Drapers Hall and its contribution to tourism and trade in Shrewsbury. The Textile Design Competition encourages and recognises the work of several hundred students and crafts people. Major General John Crackett CB TD DL, the current Master of the Shrewsbury Drapers Company said, “I am delighted that we have been awarded the QAVS. Not only is this a superb recognition of all the hard work put in by our volunteers year after year, but also I hope that it will make us better known locally, and encourage a more diverse selection of skilled and energetic people to come and help us.”
The Shrewsbury Food Hub stops food waste and tackles food poverty by sharing good leftover food from supermarkets with community groups. It was formed in April 2016. The group has had to adapt significantly during Covid-19, but has risen magnificently to the challenge. The Hub operates seven days a week. The amount of food that the Hub collects has increased six-fold since 2016, delivering enough food for 195,000 meals last year. Katy Anderson manager and co-founder of the Food Hub said “We are honored to have been awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service on behalf of our volunteers, who work tirelessly to stop food waste and support our community. Our 116 volunteers are the heart of our organisation. They rescue good food left over at supermarkets and manufacturers to stop it ending up in the bin and they get it safely to community groups and foodshare tables 7 days a week.”
Wendy Faulkner at The Shrewsbury Ark nominated the Food Hub for the Award said, “The team at the Shrewsbury food hub never cease to amaze me, they are extremely friendly, supportive, committed & motivated individuals. When most agencies stopped their service during COVID lockdown the food hub team of volunteers carried on. We at the Shrewsbury Ark would not know what to do without their continued support, which massively cuts our food budget. Each and every volunteer, trustee and member of the Shrewsbury Food Hub deserve recognition for the hard work they put into reducing waste and distributing it to groups who put the surplus to good use.”
The Bright Star Boxing Academy offers sport, mentoring and education to support people to make positive changes in their lives. Its goals are to aid young people at risk of exclusion or criminal exploitation; in recovery; abuse survivors; and people suffering with poor mental health. The group has had a life changing impact on hundreds of vulnerable people across Shropshire. During Covid-19 when its premises had to close, the group adapted and switched to an online offer. Joe Lockley, Director of Bright Star Boxing Academy said, “Winning this award is absolutely amazing for all of the staff and volunteers at Bright Star, it’s great to see the impact we’re having is recognised nationally. Everyone involved with Bright Star goes the extra mile to meet the needs of everyone who walks through the doors, whether that be through one of our targeted programmes or to the open boxing club sessions. This award is an amazing achievement for everyone involved in Bright Star”.
The Red House Community centre run by the Albrighton Village Hall’s Trust has provided services and facilities for all age groups in Albrighton for more than fifty years. Apart from fundraising to keep the grade 2 listed building in excellent condition, the group run many activities including a free play scheme for children through summer holidays, OAP Christmas parties, fayres, and multiple fund-raising events each year to support the community.
In addition, the team stepped up their community work during Covid, helping to convert the parish minibus into a mobile shop, providing food and delivering prescriptions working seven days a week serving those shielding throughout the first lockdown. For the past six months they have also run a Community Support Scheme, seven days a week, responding to hundreds of requests, delivering groceries, prescriptions, helping with transport to the surgery and assisting in any way needed by the community. They also delivered food bank parcels for the church and delivered hot meals cooked for the Melville OAP club in the village.
Chair of trustees, Jenny Wynn DL said, “this is a tremendous achievement and wonderful recognition for all our trustees and volunteers, many of whom have worked at the Red House supporting residents for more than two decades”.