A voluntary organisation from Stourbridge who works in the community to provide counselling services for young people has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The What? Centre provides one-to-one therapeutic counselling and advice services for young people from across the Borough, working with more than 120 young people per week in its Centre based in Stourbridge and also in outreach provisions including schools within the Borough.
Long term volunteer Steve Woodall and his wife from The What? Centre attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 19th May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.
The What? Centre is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards given to groups this year is slightly higher than last year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Award winners this year range from a War Memorial Community Trust, providing social facilities for the benefit of the community in Clwyd, Wales, to a club enhancing the community by developing individuals through athletics, in Ayrshire and Arran, Scotland.
The What? Centre will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant later this summer.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis said:
“I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the very best of democracy in action.”
Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:
“I would like to congratulate all groups who received this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of their fantastic achievements. The huge amount of work and commitment these organisations put into their local communities is surpassed only by the passion and motivation of the individuals who volunteer. I hope these groups continue to inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact so that we can continue to build a more compassionate society.”
Julie Duffy, Chief Officer of The What? Centre, said :
“we are absolutely delighted to receive this award. The Centre has supported many thousands of young people with their mental health and social welfare issues over a 30 year period. This award is for all of the volunteers who have counselled or supported young people at any time during these 30 years and helped to take it from a small organisation to the thriving community organisation with an excellent reputation within the Borough.”