Award from Queen ‘icing on the cake’ for
VOLUNTEER Centre West Berkshire was presented with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at a ceremony at Newbury Town Hall on Tuesday night.
The Lord Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire, Philip Wroughton, presented the award, one of only 92 nationally, and the only one made to an organisation in Berkshire.
Making the presentation to chairman of trustees Ian Langley, Mr Wroughton said that when introducing the awards to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002, the Queen had wanted to thank those people and organisations that gave up their time for others. He said that a sense of voluntary service was something which the British set great store by, with 40 per cent of the population giving up time to help others.
Mr Wroughton said: “Your large volunteer force has become a key constituent of the fabric of the Newbury area.” He added: “You are now acknowledged nationally as a result of being a winner of the Queen’s Award. It is a group award, but represents a beacon of light which hopefully will inspire other voluntary groups to join you on the victory rostrum.”
Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, formerly known as Newbury Volunteer Bureau, was formed in 1973, and in thanking the Lord Lieutenant, director Garry Poulson gave a brief outline of its history and some of its notable achievements, including setting up the district’s first Handybus scheme in 1986, and the county’s first Shopmobility scheme in 1995.
Mr Poulson also paid tribute to the volunteer staff of the charity’s office in Bolton Place, Newbury. “This really is the icing on the cake of three decades of hard work,” he said. “It is fantastic news. We are all truly delighted.”
Newbury MP Richard Benyon, a long-standing supporter of the organisation, called the award “a great achievement”. “I am delighted for the Volunteer Centre, which I have been involved with for many years,” he said. “I am really impressed with what they do, and am thrilled that it has been acknowledged with this prestigious award.”
During the presentation, Master of Ceremonies Alan Coxhead, himself a volunteer driver with the organisation, read out a proclamation from the Queen confirming Volunteer Centre West Berkshire’s status as an award winner.
To find out more about the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, or to make a nomination for next year’s award, visit www.queensawardvoluntary.gov.uk or telephone the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire’s office on (0118) 939 0281.
Newbury Weekly News, 21st July 2005