Seething organisation receives Queen’s Award

Homeless and vulnerable learners in Norfolk have already reaped the rewards of the Blue Cat Initiative, but the Seething organisation has now received a reward of its own.

The community learning organisation has been given the Queen's Award which recognises the outstanding contribution made by volunteers to their local communities

Today founders Mike Smith-Clare and Frances Longman spoke of their delight at receiving an award with recognises the work of the organisation as a collective.

Among a number of projects the Blue Cat Initiative is behind Street Life Soccer, Teaching and Supporting Vulnerable Learners, Step On and Goals programmes.

The pair decided to set up the organisation in 2003 to provide practical learning and training and professional development to vulnerable and homeless people.

They work with other organisations in the county, including the Community Sports Foundation.

Last year the organisation worked with around 500 people.

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'It is like everything', said Mr Smith-Clare. 'It has started with an acorn and grown into an oak. We are driven by a desire to make changes that help people that do not have an opportunity to express their own views. It is about building confidence.'

'I think it is lovely to receive recognition from people who have benefited from the programme. There is that individual recognition. We can use that as a stepping stone to further develop the work that we do. If it assists us to work with more people, that's fantastic.'

He said it was great to get an award for the organisation and not just one person.

'It means a lot to us. So many people have put time and effort into it.'

They will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal presented by The Queen's Lord-Lieutenant in Norfolk.

Groups have also received an invitation for representatives to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in the summer.

More than 980 groups have now received the annual award since it was created by The Queen to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

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