Five voluntary organisations in West Sussex have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, making this the best year yet.
This is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and the winners are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
CARE East Grinstead, Chichester City Centre (Bell Tower) Drop-in, Heene Community Association in Worthing, The Friends of Chichester Hospitals and West Sussex Mediation Service were all chosen for 2019.
Mrs Susan Pyper, Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, said: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to the five outstanding groups in the county that have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.”
CARE East Grinstead provides transport to hospitals and DIY services for the elderly and needy in the East Grinstead and Lingfield area.
Chichester City Centre (Bell Tower) Drop-in offers help with homework, snacks, an internet café, gaming and movies for secondary school children aged 11 to 16.
The centre caters for children from the most vulnerable homes, providing security and a safe place in which to play while instilling positive values and improved behaviours, enabling its children to embrace the next stage of their education, employment and skills post-16.
Heene Community Association provides a safe and serviced community centre, used for a wide range of programmes for all age groups. There are 66 separate groups of community activities taking place each week.
The Friends of Chichester Hospitals provide dedicated, high-quality, friendly services to patients, visitors and staff of St Richard’s Hospital, plus generous funding of otherwise unaffordable vital medical equipment and amenities. The volunteers collectively give 12,300 hours each year.
West Sussex Mediation Service, based in Horsham, provides mediation services in neighbourhood disputes, inter-generational disputes, elder mediation and wellbeing mediation. It also provides family and workplace mediation throughout the county.
This is the highest number of award winners in West Sussex since the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was introduced in 2003.
Representatives from the groups attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May and the groups will receive their awards from Mrs Pyper, who presents them on behalf of the Queen.
Mrs Pyper said: “During the assessments, we were impressed by their commitment to making a positive difference to the lives of others in imaginative and creative ways.
“The award is a tremendous accolade for their activities, and their success demonstrates just how important the work of volunteers is, not just in West Sussex, but throughout the country.
“I sincerely hope that their achievements will encourage other volunteer groups to consider putting themselves forward for nomination for this prestigious award.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups that benefit their local communities. A total of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups have received the award this year.