31 Oct 2022 QAVS Presentations for Shropshire
Each year, outstanding examples of volunteering are celebrated through the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). Created in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, QAVS awards have been shining a light on the fantastic work of voluntary groups for many years. Equivalent to an MBE, QAVS is the highest awards given to local voluntary groups in the UK, and they are awarded for life.
Over the last few months, the Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Anna Turner, has been delighted to join volunteers from four Shropshire organisations who were awarded the QAVS earlier this year and present them with their Awards.
The East Shropshire Talking Newspaper (ESTN) is staffed by an entirely voluntary group of people, and since its inception in 1990, has provided a FREE (weekly) News and Features Audio Service for visually impaired people.
ESTN is a registered charity. Based in Telford, it provides a free weekly USB memory stick to its registered subscribers, and its content is made more widely available via the Internet, Smart Phone Apps, and the most widely used Smart Speakers.
The weekly 80 minute recording contains local news, notices, sport and features; including items from the local press and other local/national publications, such as Shropshire Magazine and TNF Soundings, alongside items produced in-house by the ESTN team; covering a wide range of subjects and matters of interest.
“We save people in danger. Always on-call. Always professional. Always volunteers. We are normal people doing quiet heroics, dedication and professionalism for free, to your community and those in crisis.”
The opening words of the West Mercia Search and Rescue homepage. These impressive yet modest people serving Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire show abundant courage. Sometimes in treacherous waters with people in serious jeopardy.
The volunteers look for and find missing people in the Severn, other rivers and in floodwater whenever they are called, on any day or night of the year. An official Lowland Rescue Unit, they train, work and adhere consistently to the highest National standards and are engaged in pioneering new methods. They are among the first to employ kayaks and 4×4 quad bikes in the search role, sometimes to seek people demonstrating intent towards self-harm.
They are immensely deserving of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Identifying “Protection of Life” as their key aim, Shropshire Rural Support volunteers have worked tirelessly for more than three decades to tackle mental health in rural communities. Long before wider society recognized the prevalence of mental health issues, they made the links between rural isolation and depression with suicides and set about preventing them.
Through voluntary and partnership effort, SRS volunteers develop and offer support services that meet the needs of those suffering from all forms of stress arising from their rural way of life, regardless of economic status. Whilst a relatively small group of volunteers, at least half have worked for more than two decades providing specialist support to isolated and often quite desperate farmers. Their SRS work has become an integral part of their lives, their dedication and commitment admirable and assessors were impressed by their relentless determination to find the best possible and most appropriate solutions for those in crisis and distress.
Shropshire Rural Support volunteers are an exceptional, inspiring, and selfless group of people working for the rural community in Shropshire and this makes them extremely worthy winners.
PODS (Parents Opening Doors) is a parent carer/peer led charity with staff and volunteers who have the relevant ‘real life’ experience to support families who have a child with a disability or additional need (aged 0 – 25 years). Parent participation is at the heart of the forum, as parent carers can pinpoint problems frequently experienced by families with disabled children. This knowledge is useful to professionals in helping to improve how children’s services are delivered so they better meet families’ needs. PODS continues to ensure communication links exist between these families and the strategic decision makers.
Research has proven the value of the Face2Face scheme across 31 areas of the UK, including Telford and Wrekin. At a local level the scheme has demonstrated the importance of one-to-one and peer-led support, particularly to families who have a newly diagnosed child and/or in times of crisis and transition.