Four organisations doing amazing volunteering work for their community have been honoured with a royal seal of approval.
Broadstairs Town Team, Nourish Community Food Bank (Tunbridge Wells), Home-start Medway, and the Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne have each been chosen to receive the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
They are among 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the UK to receive the accolade this year.
Broadstairs Town Team looks after the wellbeing of older disabled residents and encourages the improvement of local community spaces. A “Town Shed” is fitted out for teaching woodworking skills, with additional artwork and social spaces. Volunteers also help with litter-picking, gardening and heritage restoration. The team’s 160 volunteers give more than 400 hours of their time every week.
The Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne (HRGS) undertakes a wide range of activity on behalf of the community. It is operated entirely by volunteers aged from 14 to over 100 who help to run heritage events, archaeological excavations and staff the Heritage Hub in Sittingbourne town centre.
Home-Start Medway supports challenged families with complex needs, ensuring that every struggling parent receives the help they need to give their children the best possible start in life and the opportunity to achieve their full potential. More than 60 trained and accredited volunteers helped some 100 families last year.
Nourish is a lifeline for some of the most disadvantaged in the community, not only providing emergency food and toiletries but also giving advice and signposting to agencies to help with benefits, debt management, housing, employment and domestic violence. It has some 70 volunteers.
The Lady Colgrain, Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and Her Majesty’s official representative in the county, said: “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service honours the finest examples of volunteering.
“These four organisations richly deserve royal recognition for all the wonderful work they are doing to help their community, particularly its most vulnerable and challenged. Their achievements are impressive and heart-warming.
“Volunteering is close to my heart because I know from personal experience how valuable and essential it is to a caring society. That’s the case at any time but especially so during the coronavirus crisis. We are all grateful to the many volunteers who have been helping others during these difficult days.
“I thank everyone who is doing their bit for the community at this and other times. Our four winners are role models for volunteering and I’m sure their fine example will inspire others. I hope it will encourage nominations of other groups that are also doing good work across our county.”
She added: “I’m looking forward to presenting The Queen’s Award to each of this year’s winners when restrictions are eased.”