Volunteers from three long-standing and well-known Bury organisations have won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).
This is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, and is effectively the MBE for volunteer groups.
The three Bury groups were:
East Lancashire Railway
The group was formed 34 years ago to develop a heritage railway as local line closures were taking effect. It was started by volunteers and has been largely sustained by volunteers using their efforts, skills and commitment to build a successful and growing enterprise. A diverse group of 700 volunteers help run the ELR; male and female, from teenagers to the elderly. Different social backgrounds are represented, from senior professionals to unemployed people seeking work experience and skills. Some volunteers are recent while others have served for more than 30 years. All kinds of jobs are undertaken - engine driving, signal box operation, guarding, station masters, ticket inspection and more.
More info about the ELR is at www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk
The Fed has been operating for 147 years and is the leading social care charity for the Jewish community of Greater Manchester, supporting 1,250 people at any one time. The organisation is diverse, and looks after people of all ages from the whole spectrum of the community - the vulnerable, the disabled, the abused and neglected. There are 500 volunteers from Greater Manchester, aged 16-94, and from all backgrounds. Some volunteers join to get work experience while others are retired. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of work including befriending lonely older people, supporting carers, helping Holocaust survivors, and children with disabilities. Details: www.thefed.org.uk
Operating for 30 years with more than 20 volunteers, Speakeasy supports marginalised people with communication disabilities. A unique service, tailored to individual needs, it provides meaningful opportunity and targeted therapy for the development of skills and confidence to enhance lives. Beneficiaries help plan and run activities, which are constantly monitored to ensure that the consistently changing needs of the membership are met. Speakeasy volunteers are trained, supported and monitored regularly to provide guided therapy/activity 1-2 times per week. Volunteers commit long term, including one for 15 years, and six progressed from being members themselves. Additionally, 4-10 student volunteers attend each year for experience. Trustees are long-term volunteers and include Speakeasy’s founder and members. More: www.buryspeakeasy.org.uk
Council Tamoor Tariq, Bury Council’s cabinet member for communities and safer neighbourhoods, said: “Bury is a vibrant area with many groups who do outstanding work; individuals giving their time, effort and expertise for no personal reward. I know that volunteers do their sterling work for the benefit of others but I would encourage any eligible voluntary organisation to consider entering. The benefits in terms of recognition, publicity, awareness and public support will be invaluable.”
Nominate organisations for 2017
Any group doing volunteer work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community.
Winners get a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal and representatives from the group may also be invited to attend a royal garden party. Nominations for the award are promoted by the office of the Lord Lieutenant.
The deadline for submissions for the 2017 awards is 9 September 2016, and the winners will be announced next June.
For more details, call Ruth Shedwick on 0161 253 5327 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More about the awards are here: https://qavs.direct.gov.uk
Press release issued: 26 July 2016.
Picture: Members of The Fed receive their Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.