Volunteers take centre stage as their work is recognised with Queen’s AwardsJun 02, 2020
THREE charities have seen the unstinting efforts of their volunteers receive the highest praise.
Keech Hospice Care, the regional children’s hospice at Luton, is among the recipients of a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest accolade for such work.
Also among the list of recipients published today (Tuesday) is MK SNAP, which works with young people with life-limiting learning disabilities, and the Brooklands Day Centre in Newport Pagnell.
‘Our wonderful volunteers fulfil different roles and bring wonderful skills which as a charity we simply could not afford’
“Without our 1,475 volunteers, we simply would not be here,” said Liz Searle, Keech Cottage Hospice’s chief executive. “They are the backbone of Keech Hospice Care and always go above and beyond. This award is a fantastic tribute to all their hard work and commitment, without which we would struggle to deliver services.
She spoke of the work the volunteers take on. “From 13 years old to 90 years young, our wonderful volunteers fulfill 111 different roles and bring multiple skills which – as a charity – we simply could not afford.
“From ensuring our 34 shops can remain open and lifeguarding so patients can use our hydrotherapy pool to catering, fundraising, voice banking and bereavement – the list is endless.
“For nearly 30 years, our volunteers have made Keech Hospice Care what it is today. I’m delighted their continuous dedication is being recognised because it enables the charity to provide its exceptional specialist care to children and adults, and their families, at a time it is needed the most.”
The hospice, in Luton, cared for 2,400 adults and children – more than 1,600 patients and 700 relatives – in 2018/19 alone.
Helen Nellis, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, delivered the news on Keech Hospice Care’s social media channels and website today.
“We are so fortunate in Bedfordshire to have this wonderful hospice providing free specialist care for adults and children with life-limiting illnesses and the contribution from its volunteers is tremendous,” she said. “I send my sincere congratulations to everyone at Keech Hospice Care and I look forward to the time when I can visit the hospice in person and present the award on behalf of HM The Queen.”
Louise Coleman became a volunteer for Keech Hospice Care after the charity cared for her son. It is all about giving back and feeling valued, she says.
“I have got so much out of volunteering for Keech Hospice Care. I started as a fundraising volunteer for Keech after the charity cared for my son Sam – it was my way of giving back. The care Sam and the whole family received was just incredible.”
Sam died aged 19 from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Since then Louise has raised £34,000.
“You are part of a fantastic family when you volunteer for Keech – it truly is a wonderful charity,” she says. “There are many volunteering opportunities out there but, whatever time you can give, I’d encourage everyone to volunteer for Keech – it’s not a sad place at all. There really is a role to suit everyone, you feel so valued and you know you are making the difference when it matters the most.”
Fabia Chowdhury, 16, is one of Keech Hospice Care’s youngest volunteers. Work experience at one of the charity’s shops two years ago inspired her to more. “I loved it so much, I’ve volunteered at the weekends ever since,” she says.
“I feel part of a family and the people I work with are amazing. People think volunteering is just for older people but it is not. The skills I’m learning look great on my CV and will help me to get my first job in the future. I feel part of my community and I’m becoming more confident. If anyone is thinking about volunteering, I highly recommend for all ages it as it’s really fun and no two days are ever the same.”
Volunteers from Keech Hospice Care will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next year on behalf of the charity, along with other recipients of this year’s Queen’s Award.
To join Keech Hospice Care’s family of volunteers, whatever time you have to offer, plase visit www.keech.org.uk/volunteer or call 01582 492339. Full training is provided.
by ANDREW GIBBS e: firstname.lastname@example.org