Queen's Award for two community groups in Warwickshire
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Two community groups in Warwickshire have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service - the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Warwickshire Vision Support, which is based in Warwick, and Cohort 4, which is based in Atherstone, have both been given the honour in recognition of the work carried out by their dedicated volunteers.
Warwickshire Vision Support, formerly known as Warwickshire Association for the Blind, has been supporting visually impaired people for over a century.
Today has more than 250 volunteers who co-ordinate and run services for visually impaired people , which reduce social isolation, connect communities, reduce the digital divide and enrich the lives of those with impaired vision.
Their ‘vision’ is a world where sight loss is not a barrier to life.
The volunteers continued to provide support when the pandemic reached the UK.
In a little over two months, the charity and its volunteers have contacted more than 3,000 visually impaired people in Warwickshire, to make sure that they have practical and emotional support to help them weather the pandemic.
Many have also signed up to a telephone befriending service to help alleviate isolation, something which has been exacerbated by the lockdown.
Cohort 4 offers peer support and help for women who have been victims of domestic abuse, living in isolation and suffering from their experiences of being mentally and/or physically abused.
The group has helped many women to recover self worth and self respect and has also advised groups nationally and locally about strategies for dealing with domestic abuse.
The groups are two of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the UK to receive the prestigious award this year.
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 June 2, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Representatives of Cohort 4 and Warwickshire Vision will receive the award from Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire later this summer.
Two volunteers from each group will also be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021 .
Liz Thiebe, Warwickshire Vision Support’s chair of trustees, said: “We are thrilled with the recognition provided by this award. We would not have been able to respond to the Covid 19 challenges without the commitment, flexibility and willingness from our volunteers.
"This commitment can be seen across the entire spectrum of volunteer talent…from the volunteer board to the volunteers making the calls to our visually impaired people over the past three months.
"A big well done and thank you to all of our volunteers.”
Warwickshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Tim Cox, said: "I am delighted that these two groups have been recognised by the Queen for the exemplary voluntary work they undertake.
"At this very difficult time it is important to recognise those who selflessly work to improve the lives of others.
"I hope that we will see more voluntary groups nominated for this award in the future.
"In Warwickshire we have a thriving and robust voluntary sector and we need to continue to celebrate and praise their work.
"On behalf of Her Majesty I congratulate the volunteers of Cohort 4 and Warwickshire Vision for being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service ."