NEWS FROM THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Community Care North Bucks and School Aid recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2018

Two Buckinghamshire voluntary groups have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for voluntary groups in the UK.

Community Care North Bucks has four wings: Hospital Car Service, Adult Carers group, Young Carers group and a moving on group for ex carers responding to the growing needs of the community. The beneficiaries all live in North Bucks, which includes the towns of Buckingham and Winslow and the surrounding villages.

School Aid recycles educational materials, using a diverse and talented group of volunteers and partners to develop literacy skills among disadvantaged children in Africa. School Aid works across the UK with a national donation network and a regional volunteer force based in Buckinghamshire, with others helping around the country. The work of these volunteers benefits children in South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi and Lesotho.

Representatives from Community Care North Bucks and School Aid attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace where they met The Queen and other awardees of this year’s 2018 award.

In 2018 a total of 250 volunteer-led groups received the prestigious award. The number of awarded groups has increased again this year, demonstrating the continuous expansion and value of the voluntary sector in today’s society.

This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service within their communities. The recipients of the award are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

This year’s awardees are incredibly diverse, innovative and impactful, ranging from FISH Neighbourhood Care, an organisation committed to combating loneliness and social isolation in older and vulnerable people living in Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen in Greater London to The Monday Night Club, providing social opportunities and sporting activities for adults with learning disabilities and autism in Worcestershire.

Both Community Care North Bucks and School Aid will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire later this summer.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:

“Everyone who has received this award should be incredibly proud. Their service, commitment and care has a profoundly positive impact on communities throughout the country and I am delighted they have been recognised with this prestigious award.

“The record number of recipients this year is testament to the strength of the voluntary sector and I am sure this trend will continue into the future. If you know any organisations that deserve to be recognised, make your voice heard and nominate them for next year.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis said:

“This year’s record number of Queen’s Award awardees are a powerful testimony to the remarkable achievements and innovative ideas which characterise volunteering in the UK. They prove that, more than ever, volunteers beavering away at grassroots level are the active lifeblood of our communities, identifying all kinds of problems and issues and tackling them with enthusiasm, talent and a high degree of success.

“The recipients of the Queen’s Award are at the very top of a formidable volunteering movement in the UK involving millions of our citizens, and going from strength to strength.”

Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire said:

“I would like to congratulate both organisations on receiving their award and very much look forward to meeting the volunteers when I present them with their award later this year.

“The remarkable aspect of the work of Community Care North Bucks is the amount and range of the care it offers. This charity benefits the young and old, the sick, vulnerable and lonely – North Bucks is an area of substantial growth in population and there is a growing demand for each of the services. Community Care North Bucks is a lifeline for those who need such help and support. Without it much desperate need would not be met.

“Volunteers are at the heart of all School Aid does, and flexibility in working practice is the reason the volunteers achieve so much. Each volunteer is offered an individualised package of contribution to the charity. Whilst the direct beneficiaries are in Africa, there are many who benefit in this country too. School Aid provides a rewarding and fulfilling place to volunteer, gives opportunities to the disabled to contribute according to their capability, gives youngpeople Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering experience and most importantly gives children in schools right across the UK the chance to understand better the challenges faced by other cultures and communities and to offer their time to help others.

Mr Keith Croxton Chair of Trustees, Community Care North Bucks said:

“I am extremely pleased that our group was awarded with this most prestigious award but it is very much down to the amazing volunteers who support the work that we do. They are a dedicated and conscientious group and the award is a great reward for their commitment to community care in North Bucks”

Lady Baker, founder and President of School Aid, said:

“I am immensely proud that all the time and hard work put in by School Aid’s volunteers has been recognised by the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Without the dedication and support of the generous locals of Buckinghamshire who give their time and expertise on a daily basis, we wouldn’t be able to change the lives of so many children in Africa.

“This prestigious national honour, widely regarded as the MBE for volunteer groups, has recognised the outstanding contribution that our 69 volunteers make to a service that just wouldn’t be possible without them. Every day their hard work makes a difference to school children across Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania and I’m humbled by their resolute support for a task that has been close to my heart for 20 years.”