Four groups have all been named as receiving a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, announced today – The Shrewsbury Drapers Company, Shrewsbury Food Hub, Bright Star Boxing Academy and The Red House Community Centre in Albrighton.
Volunteers at each one have played a part in improving the lives of the people of the county, from school children to the elderly.
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK.
It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's Coronation and is considered 'the MBE for volunteer groups'.
The awards will be presented locally by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Anna Turner JP, during the summer.
Each group will receive a crystal and a certificate signed by HM The Queen.
Mrs Turner said the groups had demonstrated a real impact on the lives of people in the county.
She said: "I am delighted that four Shropshire groups have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year. This prestigious award is richly deserved by each of the groups, who have made a real difference to so many people in the county of Shropshire."
Shrewsbury Food Hub has delivered enough food for 195,000 meals in the past year and its manager and co-founder Katy Anderson, spoke of her pride at its recognition.
She said: “We are honoured to have been awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service on behalf of our volunteers, who work tirelessly to stop food waste and support our community. Our 116 volunteers are the heart of our organisation.
"They rescue good food left over at supermarkets and manufacturers to stop it ending up in the bin and they get it safely to community groups and foodshare tables seven days a week.”
Wendy Faulkner from The Shrewsbury Ark nominated the Food Hub for the award and said: “The team at the Shrewsbury food hub never cease to amaze me, they are extremely friendly, supportive, committed & motivated individuals. When most agencies stopped their service during Covid lockdown the food hub team of volunteers carried on.
"We at the Shrewsbury Ark would not know what to do without their continued support, which massively cuts our food budget. Each and every volunteer, trustee and member of the Shrewsbury Food Hub deserve recognition for the hard work they put into reducing waste and distributing it to groups who put the surplus to good use.”
Bright Star Boxing Academy in Shifnal has grown from a sporting training club when it started in 2016, into an organisation that helps the unemployed, people suffering with mental health issues, and mentoring for youngsters.
Director, Joe Lockley, paid tribute to the efforts of the group's volunteers.
He said: “Winning this award is absolutely amazing for all of the staff and volunteers at Bright Star. Although we are still a new organisation, it’s great to see the impact we’re having is recognised nationally. Everyone involved with Bright Star goes the extra mile to meet the needs of everyone who walks through the doors, whether that be through one of our targeted programmes or to the open boxing club sessions."
The Red House meanwhile has been central to events in Albrighton for half a century and none more so than during the pandemic, when volunteers have stepped up to help the community – helping to convert the parish minibus into a mobile shop, providing food and delivering prescriptions, as well as running a community support scheme.
Chair of trustees, Jenny Wynn DL said: “This is a tremendous achievement and wonderful recognition for all our trustees and volunteers, many of whom have worked at the Red House supporting residents for more than two decades."
Major General John Crackett CB TD DL, the current Master of the Shrewsbury Drapers Company, also spoke his pride at the recognition for the organisation – which helps house more than 50 vulnerable elderly people in its almshouses.
He said: “I am delighted that we have been awarded the QAVS. Not only is this a superb recognition of all the hard work put in by our volunteers year after year, but also I hope that it will make us better known locally, and encourage a more diverse selection of skilled and energetic people to come and help us."