Volunteer group honoured with Queen's Award
- Credit: Halesworth Volunteers
A Suffolk charity has been honoured by the Queen after its tireless efforts in 2022.
Halesworth Volunteers has been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Emma Healey, director of Haleworth Volunteers, said: "We are still here to make lives better in whatever way we can. This amazing award recognises our much-loved Community Car Service that has operated for nearly 40 years getting people who cannot travel independently to their important social and medical appointments.
"New projects like the Halesworth Community Larder that developed during the Pandemic show how we can meet new challenges and reach out to people who have not used our services before.
"Everything we do is powered by the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. This is very much their award."
Halesworth Volunteers is the new name for Halesworth Volunteer Centre, a charity that has been supporting people in Halesworth and the surrounding rural villages for nearly 40 years.
In 2019 the team of volunteer car drivers for Halesworth Volunteers were doing an average of 900 journeys a month.
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The Isolation Buster team were supporting over 40 isolated people, getting them out and about or visiting them at home, while ideas like the Wish Project were supporting people who struggle with anxiety and poor mental health and well-being.
Working with Halesworth Area Community Transport bus, Pear Tree Centre, and Dementia Carers Fund, Halesworth Volunteers became a crucial support hub for the community response to Covid-19.
In one week in May 2020, volunteers delivered 90 homes their shopping and over 100 prescriptions and medication, as well as being a friendly voice at the end of the phone to over 70 isolating and isolated people.
Halesworth Community Larder, a partnership project with St Mary’s Church and the Blyth Valley Team Ministry was created as a vital new service.
Karen Austin, chair of Halesworth Volunteers, said: "We cannot describe how honoured we are by this award, and in the Jubilee year too.
"It is fantastic to be stepping out with a new name and with the national recognition that this award brings.
"It is testament to our fantastic volunteers and staff and the way that all the local groups in Halesworth and beyond worked together during the Covid-19 pandemic."