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Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the MBE for volunteer groups

Buckingham Palace has today (2 June 2020) announced The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service winners for 2020.

Coinciding with Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service celebrates the work of a diverse range of volunteer groups whose work has enhanced and supported local communities over a number of years.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, is delighted that four voluntary organisations in Bedfordshire have been recognised.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 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. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Nationally, 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups have received the prestigious award this year. 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 following Bedfordshire organisations have been successful:

Autism Bedfordshire

Autism Bedfordshire works closely with autistic people and their families to help break down the barriers to social participation by providing places where they can go and feel comfortable, accepted and not judged by society.

With the encouragement and support of specialist trained staff, the charity helps autistic people build their confidence, self-esteem and social skills through taking part in social activities and mixing with other people.

Autism Bedfordshire also provides help to improve the prospects of autistic people by developing their practical skills to help them lead independent lives within the community.

Luton Irish Forum

Luton Irish Forum was formed in 1997 and now has over 500 members. Initially set up to serve the Irish Community in Luton, the Forum is now an all-inclusive community organisation that serves Luton’s diverse vulnerable and socially excluded people. Luton Irish Forum offers activities and events to promote health, wellbeing and cultural awareness, improve quality of life and increase social inclusion. The Forum also provides welfare support through appointments and home visits and offers advice on matters including welfare benefits, housing, community care and debt.

Sharnbrook Amateur Theatre Trust

The Mill Theatre is located in Sharnbrook, North Bedfordshire and is entirely owned by a charitable trust. The theatre opened in 1979, although the society pre-dates the theatre by many years. The Theatre Trust produces at least four shows a year with a mixture of drama, musicals and variety, with audiences drawn from both the surrounding area and further afield.

Volunteers of Keech Hospice Care

Keech Hospice Care provides free specialist care for adults and children with life-limiting and terminal illnesses supporting them to live pain and symptom free, to spend quality time with their family and friends, to understand what’s happening to them, to stay out of hospital and to make the most of the time they have. The Volunteers of Keech Hospice Care play a pivotal role in the delivery of the services provided and cover a wide range of functions such as working in charity shops, fundraising, providing aquatic therapy, driving patients to the hospice, lifeguarding the pool and maintaining the gardens.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis said:

“I am delighted that HM The Queen has honoured these fantastic volunteers with the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service. Bedfordshire is very proud of the county’s voluntary sector which plays such a vital role in helping us to build kind and cohesive communities.

“Each organisation has reached out to various groups within our county and helped to improve lives in a variety of crucial ways. My sincere congratulations to all the winners; I look forward to presenting them with their awards.”

To nominate a group or find out more, please visit the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service website.