North Yorkshire charities receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Four charities from the North Yorkshire Lieutenancy have been recognised in the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Queens award

The charities being honoured are:

Harrogate Food Angels

The volunteers of the Harrogate Food Angels address one of society’s most pressing and growing problems. With an ageing population there are more old, frail and vulnerable people living alone, socially detached and lonely. Many of them have difficulties cooking and under-nourishment is commonplace. For 140 people in Harrogate and Ripon the daily arrival of a cheerful volunteer Food Angel delivering a high-quality hot meal is a life-preserving event. The Angels’ 83 volunteers also identify needs and advise other agencies; they undertake an array of extra minor tasks such as feeding pets and delivering newspapers, and run an innovative scheme with local businesses that brings young professionals into volunteering.

Home-Start Richmondshire (HSR)

Based at Catterick Garrison in the Richmondshire District of North Yorkshire, the 33 volunteers at Home-Start provide a lifeline of practical and emotional support for young military and civilian families going through a difficult time. Although a local charity, HSR works within a governance and training framework devised by Home-Start UK, but is otherwise independently funded and shaped by its nine trustees to meet the complex local needs of the largest British military garrison worldwide, as well as the isolated rural populations of Swaledale and Wensleydale. The dedicated volunteers support families in their homes for two to three hours every week for as long as it takes. With the Garrison doubling in size to 25,000 by 2025, the need for HSR will increase.

The Grassington Hub

The Hub is a volunteer run organisation, supported by one paid employee, providing a range of services. At its heart is the well-established library, but the organisation is delivering so much more to a community in which people can feel isolated and where services such as public transport are not readily available. It is offering free advice, learning activities such as IT, co-ordinating transport services, and supporting new and more established initiatives such as lunch and tea clubs. The Hub ensures that people are informed about what is going on in their community through traditional means such as notice boards but also through the village website and Facebook pages. At its heart the Hub is combating loneliness and isolation in a community where the average age is 54.

Washburn Heritage Centre Volunteers

The Centre is a volunteer led organisation with over 100 volunteers who provide multiple benefits to the local community. Without the Washburn Centre this very rural community would not have a focal point and there would be no way of preserving the heritage and culture of the region. As well as visitors, the facility is regularly used by residents and at times is the only social contact particularly for the elderly and those living alone. It provides a centre for communication, keeping in touch with the mainly rurally located residents and an informal networking organisation. They organise the tearoom, social events, musical concerts, guest speakers and put on varying exhibitions with a focus on specific aspects of the heritage and community.

The awards are announced on Tuesday, 2 June, ahead of the Queen’s official birthday. The successful groups are due to receive their awards at a reception at the home of the Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Jo Ropner, in the autumn.

Mrs Ropner said: “I am delighted to congratulate the four charities with this award, all of which are brilliant examples of what can be achieved by volunteers. It is their hard work and dedication that improves the life of so many in our local communities. This award, the highest a charity can receive in the UK, recognises excellence in various areas of voluntary work. I greatly look forward to meeting all of them at the awards ceremony, once we are able to safely gather.”

This story was published 3 June 2020