Unsung Norfolk heroes honoured by Queen’s Award

A community learning organisation that supports vulnerable and homeless young adults in Norfolk has been honoured with a prestigious award.

The Blue Cat Initiative, which works across the county and does much of its work in Norwich, has been given the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, and on Monday Blue Cat founders Mike Smith-Clare and Frances Longman received the accolade from the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson.

Frances said: 'Being given the Queen's Award was amazing. It is a real boost to us to be recognised by such a prestigious award and by the Queen. It is going to brilliant for helping us to work with more people and raise our profile. It is just a fantastic honour.'

Blue Cat was set up in 2003 to provide practical learning and training and professional development to vulnerable and homeless people. It works with between 300 and 500 people each year and is behind a number of different projects.

These include Street Life Soccer, which it runs in partnership with the Community Sports Foundation at Norwich City Football Club, the programmes Step On and Goals, which provide links to adult education opportunities, and also the Teaching and Supporting Vulnerable Learners programme for teachers and other people involved in working with vulnerable and homeless people. At the presentation ceremony at the Great Hospital, in Bishopgate, on Monday, Southrepps Commons Trust was also presented with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

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Mr Jewson said: 'These awards continue to recognise and celebrate the contribution that voluntary groups make to the quality of life in Norfolk, and I am delighted we have two very different groups from different parts of the county that are making an enormous contribution to their communities.

'These volunteers devote their time for the benefit of others and sometimes their efforts go unrecognised, although I know from experience what a positive difference they make to people's lives.'

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Are you celebrating an achievement. Call Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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