Home-Start Clackmannanshire receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Home-Start, a group of volunteers based in Alloa have just been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.
Based at The Whins and now also operating a shop in the High Street, the group of around 30 volunteers works with families across the County who have at least one child under twelve years of age and offer support, friendship and practical help to families in a unique, family-centred way through their team of volunteers who are recruited, trained and supported to provide informal, friendly and confidential support to deal with all that life can throw at young families.
Their core mantra is to help local families to achieve strong foundations for a healthy and happy future. This can be achieved through one to one support, weekly visits, cookery classes, annual outings, child minding and the provision of practical advice as part of an ever increasing range of services and support. The group was established in 1988 and has grown hugely during the last 5 years to meet the increased demand from local families. Early intervention can help to alleviate at an early stage suffering in the families but also reduce resource and financial burdens on local and state resources.
Although affiliated to the national charity, the local group has a degree of autonomy which has allowed it to develop services beyond those offered elsewhere. Clackmannanshire has a high level of deprivation with child poverty reported at around 27%. There are specific areas to be treated but many are seen across the country. The group works with the local authority as well as other local services provided by Social Workers and Health Visitors and often makes referrals to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col (Retd) Johnny Stewart was delighted to see the group receive the award. He said “The group is unique in Scotland having extended its services to families with children all the way up to 12 years of age, the only group in Scotland to do so. Their work is of the highest standard, providing an essential service to families, many of them single parent, who are struggling to cope. The enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers is plain to see. I consider the group to be exceptional in the way in which they conduct themselves and the impact they have on the Community”.
Leader of Clackmannanshire Council, Ellen Forson, commented “I acknowledge the massive contribution which the group has made over the years and have seen myself, first hand, the very positive impact its work has made on so many lives”.
Home-Start is one of 244 local charities and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work reminds all of us of the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them. The QAVS was created in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee and recipients are announced annually on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Coronation.
The award crystal will be presented to representatives of the group by the Lord-Lieutenant later this summer. In addition two representatives of the group will be invited to the annual Garden Party at Holyroodhouse in July 2023.