ROYAL recognition has been given to charities in the district.
Leamington-based Helping Hands and The Graham Fulford Charitable Trust have each been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary organisation can receive in the UK and equivalent to an MBE.
Founded in 2015, Helping Hands provides a safe space for vulnerable people in the local community, providing opportunities to build a better future for those experiencing homelessness, domestic abuse, addiction, isolation, mental health challenges and poverty.
The charity’s support for individuals and families has grown over the years and services now provided include soup kitchens, supported accommodation, support groups for men and women, one-to-one support, a trained counselling service, supported volunteering, access to qualification opportunities, the House2Home furniture provision project and the Lighthouse charity shop.
Helping Hands CEO Lianne Kirkman said: “I am thrilled that our group’s work has been recognised through this prestigious award. It is such a fantastic achievement for our charity.
“We started out as a small group of volunteers and we now have over 100 volunteers who work tirelessly week after week, showing so much support and commitment to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
“What we achieve each week wouldn’t be possible without our loyal and dedicated group of volunteers and I’m so grateful to each of them.
“I also want to acknowledge and thank any of our past volunteers and also our wonderful staff team who consistently volunteer extra time outside their paid hours, so also deserve recognition for their contribution to this award. Thank you.”
The Graham Fulford Charitable Trust was set up by businessman Graham Fulford in 2004 to promote awareness of prostate cancer and encourage early diagnosis, following the diagnosis of a close friend who died at the age of 58 and a family member who died in 2007.
The charity has been involved in testing over 250,000 people and has so far identified 2,500 known cancers that might otherwise not have been discovered
Lord-Lieutenant of Warwickshire Tim Cox will present the awards to the charities.
And members of the charities will also attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next summer, along with other recipients of this year’s award.
The two district charities are among 262 UK charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the award this year.
It recognises outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the award.
* Warwickshire Search and Rescue (WSR) and Veterans Contact Point (VCP) have also been recognised with the award.
WSR was founded in 2013, to assist the emergency services in searching for vulnerable missing people throughout Warwickshire, Coventry, Solihull, and parts of Birmingham.
To date the charity has been involved in over 375 searches for high risk, vulnerable missing people. They are on call at a moment’s notice 24/7, 365 days a year.
VCP is a military charity which supports those who have served in any of the UK Armed Forces who live Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.
The charity provides support, befriending schemes and holds regular events such as the annual Armed Forces Day.