A group of volunteers based in Stevenage, Irish Network Stevenage (INS), has won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, Britain’s highest award a voluntary group.
It is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive this year’s award, first introduced in 2002 to honour the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
The charity aims to help reduce social isolation of older people by arranging activities including monthly social events with live music, day trips, and quizzes, and a Care in the Community programme.
It has seen a steady increase in attendance at these events and, presently, supports approximately 100 people a month and, for its Care in the Community, makes 700 home visits a month to especially vulnerable elders.
Some INS members attended one of last month’s Buckingham Palace garden with other recipients of this year’s Award.
The award will be presented to members of INS later this summer by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Mr Robert Voss CBE.
INS chair Luke Donovan said: “We are so delighted and honoured to receive such a prestigious award. Our volunteers work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable members of our community, and to have such high recognition is a testament to how important they are. I feel very privileged to be Chair of such an important and hardworking charity.”
Leader of Stevenage Council Sharon Taylor said: “Their inclusive and vibrant member base, the incredible work their volunteers carry out and the invaluable way they touch so many lives in a positive way show the very best of our community and embodies the ‘heart of gold’ our town is known for.”