December 9 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Dedicated volunteers were honoured by the Queen yesterday for selfless service to their communities.
The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, the Queen’s representative in the county, presented the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to two Norfolk groups he described as “key to communities and their well-being”.
The Heritage House Day Care Centre in Wells and the Holt Youth Project received the honour in Binham after being selected from more than 200 public nominations.
Mr Jewson said he was proud the county’s voluntary work continued to be recognised by the annual award, which was set up in 2002 to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
“Volunteering is good for you,” he said.
“It provides a personal sense of pride, you learn new skills and have an opportunity to put your existing talents to good use.”
The Holt Youth Project, based at Station Way in the town, runs a social hub, a gym, young carers’ groups and parent and toddler sessions, supporting teenagers who have a wide spectrum of needs, both educationally, practically and emotionally.
It is run by 20 volunteers, and has 200 young people aged from seven to 17 using the service. Youth worker Julie Alford said receiving the award was “amazing”.
“The core part of what we do is about being there for young people, to help then meet their aspirations, to help them boost their confidence and gain training”, she said.
“Young people are our future – and they have so much to give with their enthusiasm for life.
“The most rewarding thing for us is to see young people achieve their full potential.”
Wells’ Heritage House Day Care Centre, which was set up 25 years ago, was given the award in recognition of the work it does to serve the needs of elderly and frail people in the area, as well as their carers.
From providing transport to and from the centre, to a home-cooked meal, hair-styling, games, quizzes, singing, painting and the occasional trip out, the volunteers say everyone’s needs are important.
Day care co-ordinator Mary Britton received the reward on behalf of the group and said it showed the hard and relentless work the volunteers and staff do.
She said the volunteers ranged in age from 19 to 84, with people using the centre from as far as Hunstanton and Holt, Fakenham and the Creakes.
“It’s a massive reward for what we have done, and recognition of what we do, matters”, she said.
David Wickens, 75, has been volunteering at the centre for 15 years and said the centre was vital for some isolated or lonely people.
“I really enjoy doing something for the community”, he said.
“And we are all going to be old one day, so the centre gives a break to patients or their carers.”