Four groups in our area, have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK:
Future Living based in Hertford helps women, men and children to live full and complete lives after their experience of domestic abuse or addiction by providing transformative therapeutic support and counseling to people and training and supporting our partners to do the same. They also provide client-led groups including art therapy, jewelry making, bread making, cookery skills and a quilt making club.
Small Acts of Kindness based in Watford works in partnership with over 90 voluntary, corporate and statutory organisations and over 300 community volunteers in the county to reduce the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on the physical and mental wellbeing of older people particularly those who are cold in their homes. To achieve this they source and distribute practical gift bags and helpful information packs to their recipients and seek opportunities to connect communities with kindness.
Sunnyside Rural Trust based in Dacorum is now in its 21st year and trains adults with learning disabilities towards achieving their full potential and obtaining employment, the volunteers are an essential part of the work to develop useful life skills through horticulture for building self-confidence and reducing social exclusion.”
Ver Valley Society based in St Albans is run by volunteers to protect and promote the River Ver chalk stream for the local community. The River Ver is one of only 200 chalk streams in the UK. VVS started in 1976 in response the severe drought when the river dried up., Since then it has worked in collaboration with river side owners, environmental groups and the local and county councils. It advocates at local, regional and national levels for these globally rare habitats.
“It’s a tremendous accolade and recognises just how passionately the society works to improve and promote the River Ver, one of only 225 chalk streams in the world – for the benefit of the local community and beyond. The members who donate thousands of hours between them every year, couldn’t be more deserving. Well done to our Bailiffs on the River, Riverfly monitors, the many Action Group participants, walk leaders, event organisers, the Barn Owl team, bench refurbishers, walk maps team, bird box builders, newsletter contributers, everyone campaiging and of course the Committee!” – Ver Valley Society
These are 4 of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive this prestigious national award in 2021. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.
Representatives of the Hertfordshire four groups will receive the award, crystal and certificate from Robert Voss CBE CStJ – Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire – later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from each group will be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Robert Voss commented: “I am delighted that these four organisations have been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is known as the MBE for volunteers and it is the volunteers who have been recognised by Her Majesty in this way. There are so many wonderful voluntary organisations in Hertfordshire all doing great work and the recipients represent the crème de la crème of the voluntary sector in the county. If one positive thing has come out of the pandemic is the community and volunteering spirit and that is evident throughout Hertfordshire. My thanks to all volunteers and voluntary organisations and special congratulations to the four being honoured and I look forward to presenting your awards later in the year.”