Four local community groups, run largely by volunteers, have been honoured this National Volunteers Week (1-7 June) with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Ham and Petersham SOS is a neighbourhood care group for elderly and disabled residents of Ham and Petersham. They provide transport, weekly activities, monthly outings and practical help.
FORCE is a community organisation who work to improve local spaces along the lower Crane and Lower DNR corridors in the Twickenham / Hounslow area. Their aim is to make green spaces even greener and enjoyable to use for everyone.
Companion Cycling help people with special needs to enjoy the fun of cycling, by offering unique access to a range of specialised cycles in Bushy Park.
Friends of Barnes Common oversee the conservation of the Common. They work closely with Richmond Council and emergency service teams on issues including conservation, outdoor learning, planning considerations, environmental policy and homelessness.
Representatives from each group attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
The local organisations are four of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year - with only 21 organisations receiving the award from London. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, 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. Winners are announced each year on 2 June - the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport, volunteers using caravans as mobile cafe/information centres in geographically remote locations and another group mentoring children who have a parent in prison.
Representatives of each group will receive the award from Sir Ken Olisa, Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, later this summer.
Gillian Norton, Representative Deputy Lieutenant (DL) for Richmond upon Thames, said:
“I am delighted that the work of these four groups has been recognised in this way; in nominating these groups I was impressed by their commitment to either helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community or improving the local environment, a view shared by my colleague assessors.
“I very much hope that we will see more excellent Richmond groups achieving success in the Award in the future.”
Cllr Nancy Baldwin, Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, added:
“I am delighted that these voluntary organisations will be recognised with this prestigious award. There are hundreds of people in our borough who give up their own time each week to help others or work to preserve our beautiful borough. These four groups are a credit to the borough and I am thrilled that they have been recognized at this national level.”
– from a Richmond Council press release - 3 June 2019