IT was cheers all round from volunteers at Glasgow’s East End based charity, Playbusters, as they received an announcement that they had been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Says a spokesperson: “The Queen’s Award is the voluntary sector equivalent of an MBE. It is awarded annually to voluntary groups to recognise and reward their outstanding achievement in helping others in the community.
“This prestigious UK National Honour recognises outstanding voluntary contributions and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged to be of the highest standard.
“Playbusters and its team of volunteers are working towards creating an East End of Glasgow where people of all ages can realise their potential and make a difference to their community.
“They are well known for their hard work in the local area – when they set about clearing the snow from pavements during the harsh winter they were referred to as the ‘Angels in Wellies’.
“During this particularly severe winter Playbusters worked with Urban Fox and Parkhead Housing Association to help local residents by clearing snow from paths, going shopping and picking up prescriptions. At the time one local resident called them the ‘Angels in Wellies’.”
Project manager, Margaret Layden, said: “This Queen’s Award is a fantastic achievement and it credit should go to everyone in Glasgow’s East End that has come together to make all the Playbusters projects such a success. Without their dedication and focus there would be no award. It is that simple.
“Playbusters were selected from 413 groups nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally or witnessed the benefits of a group’s work in their community.
“The group will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s representative in Scotland.
“Playbusters has also received an invitation for representatives to attend a Royal Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the summer.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Award Committee chair, former broadcast journalist, Martyn Lewis CBE, said: “Volunteer groups make such an important contribution to their communities, often without praise for the incredible job they do. In these difficult times their efforts are even more valuable.”
Around 80 Playbusters volunteers, ranging in age from 11 to 90, work on a wide range of activities from a community allotment and cleaning up littered areas to running intergenerational health projects bringing people of all ages together.
One young Playbusters volunteer, Chelsea O’Neill, 13, Young Volunteer and Evening Times Community Champion finalist, said: “I have grown up a lot thanks to Playbusters. Before I came, I was immature. If something happens they’ll help you so you feel like you are all together.”
Andy Forrester, Playbusters’ volunteer and Evening Times Community Champion finalist, says “Volunteering has certainly been worthwhile for me. I’m a lot fitter and a lot happier with getting out and mixing with the youngsters.”
Mary Layden, another Playbusters elderly volunteer enjoyed working with children but had been surprised by some of their questions. She said: “Some of the children at the school asked if I was on the Titanic!”
For more information contact
Clare Bennett, volunteer training coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Layden, project manager, email@example.com
Playbusters Ltd, 1345-1351 Gallowgate, Parkhead, Glasgow G31 4DN
Notes to editors
1. The volunteers help in developing Playbusters many projects such as Easy Spanish, Intergenerational work, youth activities, environmental programmes and community clean-ups. Working in partnership with Save the Children and Poverty Alliance they have also worked on programmes to raise awareness of Poverty in the UK. Two of the young volunteers are ambassadors for ‘Save the Children’.
2. Many volunteers are currently working to transform a ‘Swap Shop’ in Tollcross Road in partnership with Tollcross Housing Association as part of the Playbusters’ Grow Green with Glasgow’s East End project.
3. Quotes from partnership organisation:
“The children from Playbusters have stepped in to do the hard work and it lets us enjoy the nice things of a garden. So, thanks a million Playbusters, you’re real stars.” Maureen Smith, Cuthelton Sheltered Housing warden.
4. Additional quotes from staff
Project manager, Margaret Layden: “Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. They are committed, inspiring and are making a huge difference in the East End of Glasgow. We are delighted to receive this award in the European Year of Volunteering in recognition of the hard work of the volunteers in helping to create stronger communities.
“I would also like to say a big thank you to the hard work of the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Clare, who is a constant support to the volunteers and to all other staff who work hard alongside the volunteers. It really is a team effort.”
Clare Bennett, volunteer training coordinator: “The volunteers are enthusiastic and dedicated. It is wonderful to see so many people active in the community. We are absolutely delighted to receive this award in the European Year of Volunteering 2011. We would not be able to run our project without volunteers and to have their hard work recognised in this way is fantastic.”
5. Millennium Volunteer award There are over 30 young volunteers under age 26 working towards this award
6. Activate: Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the Activate course which is a 50-hour community development introduction delivered by Glasgow University.This is an access course to college and university and is also an excellent standalone learning experience.
“Activate opened up my mind and made me see things differently, I feel proud of myself and if I can do it, then anyone can!” – Michelle, volunteer.
7. Volunteer Achievements
In the past year several Playbusters volunteers have been recognised for their achievements -
Stephen Kenny – Young Scottish Green List winner
Chelsea O’Neill – Evening Times Community Champion winner
Andy Forrester – Evening Times Community Champion finalist
Audrey Douglas – Evening Times Community Champion finalist
Young Volunteers – Evening Time Community Champion winner
David McLuckie – Project Scotland ‘Voscar’ winner
Neighbourhood Improvement Programme volunteers were recognised in the Clean Glasgow awards where they reached the final two years running.
8. Playbusters’ Awards include -
Mary Glasgow Award 2007
European Award for Languages 2007
Spanish Embassy Award 2007
National Charities Award 2008
SURF Award 2009 for best community project in re-generation (people category)
Community Champions 2010 – Team Award Finalist (Playbusters)
9. Additional contacts. Key Funders and supporters:
Laura Bowman – Tudor Trust – firstname.lastname@example.org – 020 7467 0212 (funded volunteer co-ordinator post)
Glasgow Housing Association – contact: Lynne Guthrie – email@example.com – 0141 574 5224 (Funds overall: Easy Spanish, Activities, environmental)
Tollcross Housing Association – Clive Douglas (chief exec) – firstname.lastname@example.org – 0141 763 1317
Parkhead Housing Association – James Strang (chief exec) email@example.com – 0141 556 6226
Keep Scotland Beautiful – Climate Challenge Fund – Stephanie Clark –
Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org – 01786 470 180 (Fund Climate Challeng/environmental projects)
Helen Martin – Tutor – Glasgow University – email@example.com – 0141 330 1809 (Activate Course – Community Development course that has resulted in volunteers going on to complete BA Community Development)
Alan Sherry – Principal – John Wheatley College – firstname.lastname@example.org – 0141 588 1500 (many of the volunteers undertake further education courses – HNC Working with Communities, PDA Youth Work)
Robert Tamburrini – chief executive – North Glasgow Housing Association – email@example.com – 0141 560 6000
10. It is National Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June. National Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. The Week plays a huge part in raising the profile of the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, while inspiring others to get involved too.
11. 2011 is the European Year of Volunteering. In 2009 the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union officially announced that there would be a European Year of Volunteering in 2011 following a four-year campaign by Volunteer Development Scotland and its European partners. A logo for the year has been adopted and a slogan – Volunteer! Make a difference.
12. About the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
In 2002, in celebration of Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for Voluntary Service by Groups in the Community was established. Its purpose is to recognise groups of individuals who are giving their time freely for the benefit of others. It is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon groups of this kind and is equivalent in status to the MBE. As such, the Queen’s Award not only serves to provide recognition of volunteer groups, but also demonstrates the high respect in which volunteering is held.
The Award is overseen by the Office for Civil Society (OCS). As part of the Cabinet Office, OCS works across government departments to provide support to voluntary and community organisations and is responsible for delivery of the Big Society programme.
Groups must be nominated for the Award – self nomination is not permitted. A group (two or more people) can be nominated if it is based in the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The group has to have been volunteering for the benefit of people in the UK or overseas for at least three years and more than half its members must be volunteers who have the right of residence in the UK. Groups solely concerned with fundraising for charitable purposes are not eligible. Further details on entrance criteria and the nomination process are available from www.direct.gov.uk/qavs.
More than 980 groups around the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man have now received this annual Award since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002.
For details of all this year’s 130 winners and information on how to nominate a group, visit www.direct.gov.uk/qavs, where a nomination form can be downloaded.
For more on the Queens Award contact Danielle Wright at Consolidated PR
0207 781 2300
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