Thirty three Greater Manchester voluntary groups have been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Commonly known as the MBE for volunteer groups, it is the highest award a group can receive in the UK.
They are part of a group of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive this prestigious award this year across the UK. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving. Greater Manchester has received the most awards of any County, which shows how committed and full of innovative ideas our volunteers are, making life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. The Greater Manchester award winners are a wonderfully diverse group and will receive their award later in the Summer from The Lord-Lieutenant and 2 members of each group will attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in 2021.
The Lord-Lieutenant said, “This award recognises the contribution an organisation makes within its community. It is a rare honour. It is not won easily and it recognises real achievement, effort, and a major contribution to the community. I am delighted for the groups across Greater Manchester which have received the award. Recent times have highlighted just how valuable volunteering is to the country and I hope many more will be nominated in the future”.
Any group of two or more people that has participated in voluntary work for more than three years can be nominated for the award. Full details on how to nominate are available at https://qavs.culture.gov.uk/ Nominations for the 2021 awards close on 25 September 2020.
The groups awarded this year are as follows:
ALL ARTS & MEDIA TRADING AS ALL FM
They engage the more vulnerable in our communities in radio training and give them the platform and faith to broadcast a regular live show about the issues that matter to them. The volunteers broadcast shows that reflect the needs, challenges and great things in the community. At ALL FM there are 115 active volunteer presenters from diverse backgrounds hosting a diverse range of shows.
AMBITIONS OLDHAM AND ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE
This group offers excellent weekly social activities for young people and adults with complex learning and physical disabilities. Along with social activities, life skills are also taught within the group.
ANANNA- MANCHESTER BANGLADESHI WOMEN’S ORGANISATION
The group is in the centre of the community of Longsight. They are a BME women led community organisation providing educational, social and emotional wellbeing services. Ananna’s programmes for women and girls aim to increase confidence and resilience, improve physical and mental wellbeing, skills, employability, while reducing social isolation.
BOLTON ADULT AUTISM SUPPORT
The aim of the organisation is to provide person centred support to the for parents/carers of children (18 plus) who have, or think they may have, an Autism Spectrum Condition by providing an effective and reliable information service through drop in sessions, a befriending service and workshops that promote social understanding and emotional and physical well-being.
Provide mother to mother support to families in Wigan to aid them to adapt to a number of physical, emotional and social changes during the transition of parenthood. They support the initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding by running a range of support services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
CHEETHAM HILL ADVICE CENTRE
Cheetham Hill Advice Centre (CHAC) provides free advice and help to the disadvantaged community in Cheetham Hill and North Manchester. This charity provide advice on debt, housing, welfare rights and immigration. This service is provided in over 20 languages by a large volunteer team and by paid staff.
This group of volunteers have changed the thinking about dementia and those living with dementia in local and surrounding communities. They have increased awareness and delivered sustainable support to all those living with dementia. Making Bury one of the highest rated ‘Dementia Friends’ boroughs. Creating a much needed “Safe environment”.
DENTON WEST END COMMUNITY LIBRARY
The Group provides a community library service, various community activities and events to local residents. What makes this special, is the team of volunteers who work tirelessly to make the community library a thriving place. The funding to keep the library open is from fundraising, room hire, donations and small grants.
Based in Manchester, Destination Florida organises holidays of a lifetime to Florida, for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses across the NW. In November, every 2 years, 75 very special, excited and poorly children are accompanied by a team of over 100 volunteer doctors, nurses, physios and carers, providing the highest level of care and supervision both day and night. The trip involves effectively transporting a hospital regime to Florida as the majority of the children require daily treatment and maintenance of their medical needs during the week.
Operating with no paid staff, Eagles Wing provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers in the Bury area. Volunteers sit with, interpret, befriend, attend appointments, welcome newcomers, offer a listening ear, provide English skills, food bank and offer a space where parents can access services while children can play.
FIRST ASIAN SUPPORT TRUST (FAST) LTD
The charity supporting people in Manchester who are socially excluded and in crisis. They work with dedicated and passionate volunteers who fill the gaps where there aren’t statutory services. They work to advance skills in education/training/employment and develop their digital, financial and social wellbeing. Supporting disabilities since 1993.
FRIENDS OF BURNAGE LIBRARY
The FOBL Hub is a Community Powered space for local people from 0-90 of all ethnicities and faiths to access information, connect with and support each other, learn new skills and make things happen. 46 volunteers support a range of creative, social, cultural, wellbeing and learning activities alongside Library facilities.
FRIENDS OF STRETFORD PUBLIC HALL
Friends of Stretford Public Hall formed in 2014 to save Stretford Public Hall, a much-loved historic building in the heart of Stretford, Greater Manchester. The group have been running the Hall since 2015, working tireless to provide affordable community services and to bring life back to the Grade-II listed Hall.
FRIENDS OF SUNNY BANK VALE
The work of the group provides a green lung “splash of countryside” in a concentrated urban landscape in Tameside. The group’s excellence has been recognised by a series of Green Flag awards and “outstanding” Level 5 award by the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom.
GARSWOOD HALL BOWLING & COMMUNITY CLUB
Based in Ashton in Makerfield the group provide a fantastic community hub, a safe friendly place where people can socialise and exercise. The community events are completely volunteer run. The Bowl and Plate project provides a much -needed opportunity for older members of the community to come together on a weekly basis, reducing social isolation.
GEORGE HOUSE TRUST
Every year volunteers provide almost 1,000 people living with HIV across Greater Manchester and the NW with exceptional support. For example, through counselling and peer mentoring. The group’s ‘Positive Speakers’, all of whom are living with HIV, challenge stigma and raise awareness about HIV, in schools and workplaces by sharing their own lived experiences.
GREATER MANCHESTER TRANSPORT SOCIETY
The Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester tells the story of, and promotes, public road transport in Greater Manchester from its beginnings in 1824 to the present. The partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester is an early example of successful partnership working and the Museum welcomes over 19,000 visitors each year.
GUIDE BRIDGE THEATRE LTD.
An inclusive, diverse community amateur dramatic theatre company located in one of the most deprived areas of the UK, providing a home to both adult and youth performing groups and to Made By Mortals, a community interest company which engages performers from a range of social and cultural backgrounds.
HELP THE HATTERS
HTH is a volunteer group which, through their support maintaining their local football stadium in Stockport, help to ensure that the club is sustainable which is very difficult in the current climate. Within the stadium HTH has created a museum which provides stimulation for dementia sufferers and comfort for socially isolated individuals.
LEIGH ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Founded in response to landfill, threatening local habitats, volunteers have successfully helped reduce this and subsequent threats by conserving wildlife, collecting/publishing biological data; liaising with local, regional and national bodies; helping maintain local nature reserves, planting trees, holding Open Days, leading field excursions, visiting schools and educating local groups.
LOVE WITHINGTON BATHS
The volunteers saved a historical pool (built 1911) from closure. The community came together and since 2015 the Baths have been a registered charity, run by the community for the community and is the last working historical pool in Manchester. All profits are used to restore the Baths back to their former glory.
MANCHESTER PARENTS GROUP
Manchester Parents Group volunteers support meetings and a helpline for parents having difficulties when their children come out as LGBT+ also supporting carers, family and friends. They Campaign for equality and give talks in schools and colleges.
HOPEWELL (PREVIOUSLY CALLED NORTH MANCHESTER BLACK HEALTH FORUM)
A volunteer led Manchester charity aspiring to improve wellbeing, resilience & social inclusion of marginalised groups with focus on vulnerable people from Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to live independent, safe & fulfilled lives.
REACH OUT TO THE COMMUNITY
Reach Out to the Community supports rough sleepers and local families in poverty in Manchester. It began its operation from a greengrocers in 2016, which became a community collection point for donations, before becoming a charity. Their story perfectly demonstrates their strengths: practicality, responsiveness and a sincere desire to effect real change.
SOW THE CITY
Sow the City (STC) is a Manchester-based social enterprise with a mission to build a healthier and greener city. STC support over 100 volunteer led community growing projects, offering workshops, events and advice in gardening, nature-based activities, carpentry and DIY. Projects encourage community cohesion and improvements to place and space.
THE BREAD AND BUTTER THING
TBBT Volunteers help in the distribution of surplus food through a food membership scheme focused in deprived neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester. Volunteers operate from community hubs quickly, efficiently and cheerfully sorting and packing the food ready for collection. 500+ volunteers operate from 20 hubs providing food to 6000 members weekly.
THE DESTITUTION PROJECT
Despite a doubling of demand on the services offered in the past three years this group maintains an exceptional level of consistent, professional, holistic and compassionate care for some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members in Bolton; asylum seekers and refugees.
THE REPORTERS’ ACADEMY
Based in Media City the group provide a unique education and training programme, where young volunteers produce media for community and global platforms across the UK and abroad. Offering inspirational opportunities and unparalleled access for disadvantaged young people. Working with ‘world class’ partners, ‘investing’ in young people, increasing their social mobility and exposure to networks they can’t normally access.
THE TREE OF LIFE CENTRE WYTHENSHAWE
The group give practical support at the heart of the community, for people affected by poverty. Excellent projects; furniture re-use, IT learning, volunteering, community café, foodbank and many wellbeing activities are delivered. A constant source of support for those who don’t have anywhere else to turn to, all delivered through an excellent team of volunteers.
TOAD LANE CONCERTS (TLC)
TLC provides a valuable weekly platform for leading musicians and high quality local talent to give regular quality concerts in Rochdale. It provides opportunities for people in the local area and beyond to experience musical excellence in a Grade1 listed church building at a price they can afford. The group also provides financial and practical support for a Grade 1 listed building.
TRUE COLOURS INCLUSIVE CIC
Local volunteers who have battled their own diverse issues support local people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health issues, building independence, social and work skills through creative learning. They provide opportunities across Wigan for self-development, mentoring, coaching, volunteering and employment, supporting to local people needing a second chance in life.
They have provided a focus hub for community support and engagement for over thirteen years in some of the most challenging areas of the Rochdale Borough, rated as some of the highest areas of social deprivation in the UK.
WONDERFULLY MADE WOMAN
They provide holistic support for women and girls, helping them build their confidence so they can thrive. Providing invaluable assistance to women from an ethnic minority who some of who are survivors of domestic abuse in the UK or back in their home countries before migrating to the UK.