Prestigious royal award given to five Shropshire volunteer groups

Five Shropshire voluntary groups are to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service which aims to recognise outstanding work that benefits their local communities.

Newport and District Agricultural Society chairman of trustees Tony Asson is delighted that the society’s work has been recognised
Newport and District Agricultural Society chairman of trustees Tony Asson is delighted that the society’s work has been recognised

The award was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

The five Shropshire groups receiving the award this year are Friends of Telford Town Park, The Shrewsbury Ark, Newport and District Agricultural Society, Shrewsbury’s Foodbank PLUS and CEDAR Education.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Mrs Anna Turner JP said:

“The successful award winners are a reflection of the huge amount of generous, innovative work done in the county. The work they do is done selflessly for the benefit of others, but at the same time is hugely enjoyed.

“Every time I hear of a group that is worthy of this prestigious award I feel a glow of warmth and pride that we have a county so conscientiously doing so much to enhance our community.

“I would like to thank the winners and also thank the other nominations who have not picked up an award this year but nevertheless were of an extraordinarily high standard and prove that volunteering thrives at a grass roots level in Shropshire.”

Friends of Telford Town Park

The Friends of Telford Town Park say they are delighted and honoured to have been included in the list of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year.

Commenting on the award, Chris Pettman, the Chairman of the Friends, said: “We are thrilled that our group has been recognised with this prestigious award which reflects not only the dedication and teamwork of our volunteers but also  the support received from a number of a number of other local organisations including Parish Councils and private companies that appreciate the value of Telford Town Park to the community of Telford and beyond.”

The Shrewsbury Ark

The Shrewsbury Ark and The Shrewsbury Ark charity shop say they are honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Shrewsbury Ark runs day centre and outreach services in the Shrewsbury area and has over 60 volunteers.

The well-known charity is based opposite Shrewsbury station and offers basic facilities, hot food and emotional and administrative support to those in need.  Working alongside a small, dedicated team of staff, volunteers are responsible for the day to day running of the centre from cooking and cleaning to form filling and mentoring.

Supporting the day centre both financially and by providing clothing and other items free of charge for clients, The Ark Charity shop on Castle Street employs a manager and is supported by another committed team of volunteers. Volunteer roles vary from sorting stock to admin and serving customers.

Chair of the Ark, Karen Higgins says: “The Shrewsbury Ark day centre and shop simply would not exist without our hugely dedicated team of volunteers.  We are absolutely delighted that their hard work and commitment has been recognised in this way.   It’s a wonderful opportunity to thank each one of them for their service to the homeless and vulnerable in our community.”

Newport and District Agricultural Society

Representatives of the Newport and District Agricultural Society will receive the award from Mrs Anna Turner, Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, in the autumn.

The society’s objectives are to promote agriculture, the environment and the rural community. It achieves this by organising the Newport Show held in July each year showcasing the best of British agriculture. It has held 110 annual shows, the first one being in 1890. Sadly, this year’s show has been cancelled due to the pandemic but will be returning in 2021.

The society also acts as custodian to Chetwynd Deer Park, a 200 acre conservation area just outside Newport. As well as being the venue for the annual show, the society also utilises the park to provide educational workshops and facilities for local schools throughout the year.

The society’s chairman of trustees, Tony Asson, said: “We are delighted that the society’s work has been recognised. We have over 250 volunteers who are totally dedicated to putting on a high quality annual show. In a year when it has been necessary to cancel the show, this will be a great boost to morale as we start to think about the 2021 show.”

Cllr Lyn Fowler, Newport’s deputy mayor, nominated the society for the award. She said: “Newport Show has been part of the town’s life for many generations and it never ceases to amaze me how this dedicated team of volunteers are so enthusiastic about the society’s work. I offer them my sincere congratulations.”

Foodbank PLUS

Commenting on the award, a spokesperson for Foodbank PLUS in Shrewsbury said: “We are thrilled and honoured to announce that Foodbank PLUS has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020.

“We could not be prouder nor more grateful for every single one of our volunteer colleagues, who give their time, skills, expertise and most importantly themselves, to the work of Foodbank PLUS.

“Thank you to every one of our team who, week in week out, bring enthusiasm and positivity to their role and enable lives in our community to be transformed.”

Pam Moseley who made the nomination said: “I was pleased to put Foodbank PLUS forward for this award and absolutely delighted to learn that they have received it. As a local councillor, I have worked with the Foodbank for seven years, and so know what a real difference the team makes to local people‘s lives, not just immediate help with food, but also through the other projects which help turn lives around.

“Every client is treated with respect, kindness and empathy by the wonderful team of volunteers. Also, two recent challenges – the floods and the Corona pandemic – have shown how resilient and adaptable the team are, in keeping the service going despite everything. The volunteers really do deserve this recognition.”

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Chris Pritchard
Chris Pritchard is Editor of Shropshire Live and lives in Shrewsbury. You can contact Chris by emailing chris.pritchard@shropshirelive.com or call 01743 818 095.
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