5th June 2017
Three Essex voluntary groups who work in the community have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The three groups are:
• Razed Roof Theatre Group, Harlow
• Rayleigh Baptist Church Carers Café, Rayleigh
• Crossing Boundaries, Westcliff-on-Sea
The three groups are amongst 224 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year across the U.K. The number of awards given to groups is slightly higher this year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges and support those in need.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise the outstanding work they do in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2nd June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Award winners this year range from Friends of Thetford Forest, providing access to many and varied groups to understand and enjoy the forest, to Life Cycle UK, based in Bristol, to help- people take up cycling for work or play.
The three groups mentioned above will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Essex later this summer.
Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation which works with voluntary organisations across the county and who is also a Queen’s Award Panel Member for Essex, said:
“I am delighted that three local groups have won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services this year. Essex has a vibrant voluntary sector and the county would not be what it is without the invaluable contribution that these organisations, and thousands of others, make on a daily basis, to improve community life.
What many people don’t realise is that many groups doing voluntary work could win this award. We would urge everyone to think about the champions in their community and consider nominating them”.
Razed Roof, Harlow
Lord Petre ,“I am delighted to be presenting, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services to Razed Roof, Theatre Group, Harlow.
There are few opportunities for adults with learning difficulties in Harlow but the volunteers of Razed Roof plug the gap with affection and help change the lives of learning-disabled people in the area.
Razed Roof succeeds brilliantly in uniting disabled people with energetic, lively and caring young pupils. The group has engaged with hundreds of people at various community events. Everyone is valued and personal difference is celebrated.
The mix of able and disabled, overseen by a committed group of volunteers with an age range of 16 - 82, brings light and love to a group of learning-disabled people too often segregated from, and by, society. Together the group tackles difficult topics through imaginative and appropriate performances in a safe and inclusive environment.
The assessor visited an Anti-Bullying Workshop with Year 7 (11 -12 year olds) and came away astounded at this master class in inclusion, watching pupils visibly transformed by working with people who obviously find life far more challenging than themselves.
Over 3,000 people have engaged with the work of Razed Roof, plus many more who have engaged with social media and YouTube links; 32 people regularly attend weekly sessions; 265 people have attend RAZED ROOF workshops; 1,700 have attended exhibitions and events; 1,200 people have made up the audience”.
When asked what receiving the award means to Razed Roof, the leader, Annette Lidster, said, 'The Queen's Award for Voluntary Services is a wonderful endorsement of the work being done by Razed Roof; and most importantly, recognition of all the contributions and commitment of our many fabulous volunteers and supporters. We are all feeling very proud!'
Rayleigh Baptist Church Carers Café
Lord Petre said, “I am delighted that the Rayleigh Baptist Church Carers Café has been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen, as the winner of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.
Volunteers at Rayleigh Baptist Church Carers Café Ministries Team offer effective support and respite to Carers and the support it extends to the Carers and their loved ones is exceptional. Carers can access help on the telephone as well as attend three different sessions.
Carers Café takes place on the first Saturday of each month, the Carers and Cared for Coffee Morning takes place on the third Friday of each month and Share the Care, which offers one to one support by appointment, takes place every Monday morning.
The Café had small local beginnings but has grown steadily both in terms of volunteers and Carers and it has little difficulty in finding volunteers. Over time over 70 Carers and their loved ones have registered with the Cafés.
While part of the Rayleigh Baptist Church Ministry, no one is expected to embrace its faith and the only criterion is that they are a Carer. Everybody is welcome and the services are free. The group makes a significant contribution to improving the mental health of adult Carers because the Café and its satellite services combat loneliness and isolation. The Café signposts useful contacts and empowers Carers to make social connections with those who share a common factor: they Care”.
On being asked what receiving the QAVS means to the team, Georgina Biggs, the leader replied, 'Being awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is a great encouragement to the team and gives credibility to the work we do, enabling Carers to come forward with confidence.'
Lord Petre said: “It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, to be presenting The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services to Crossing Boundaries.
The group is made up of church and non-church members who came together in response to a clear social need demonstrated at a ‘visioning’ meeting at Earls Hall Baptist Church Westcliff-on-Sea.
They successfully help those in particular need to access statutory services such as their GP, social care services, mental health support, advice on money management, budgeting, access to debt support, benefits, computer support and social needs such as activities and friendships.
They provide invaluable advice and exceptional community support and continue to build strong relationships with Southend Social Care.”
To find out how you can nominate someone, click here.