Queens Award for Voluntary Service for Tall Trees Centre
VOLUNTEER workers at Tall Trees Community Centre Ilchester have received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, equivalent in status to an MBE, the highest honour that can be bestowed in recognition of their hard work, dedication and tireless commitment to supporting the Naval Families associated with Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.
The Naval Area Community Organisation (NACO) Volunteer Project for the South West, totalling 91 volunteers, has been awarded the Queens Award which is made annually in recognition of outstanding contribution in voluntary services. Activities run by the volunteers at Tall Trees include mothers and toddlers, welfare support meetings and dance groups for preschool children amongst many others.
Tall Trees Community Centre in Ilchester provides support to Service families in the heart of their accommodation but aalso offers a valuable resource to many tri-service families living in Yeovil and the surrounding area. The centre is run by Sally Crawford who said “without the support of our volunteers many of the groups and activities would not be able to continue”.
Volunteer Emma Bray gives at least 16 hours a week to supporting the families’ coffee shop and also runs the dance class called Boogie Bunnies. Emma said “I do it purely to support as I know how it feels to be in this Service environment. My Father was in the Navy as was my husband so I have experienced both as a child, wife and mother the importance of community support. I am delighted to be receiving such a high honour”
Volunteer Caroline Panter supports Busy Bees Mothers and Toddlers Group at Birchfield Community Centre Yeovil. Caroline has given 10 hours a week for the last 4 years and said “I do it because when I arrived here 5 years ago as a Service wife I had a one year old child and didn’t drive. I felt quite isolated and Busy Bees was a lifeline for me”.
Lorraine Richmond, Project co-ordinator said “I am so proud of all the hard work, dedication and generosity shown by all our volunteers here and throughout the Southwest. This award is only given for excellence, it is an incredible achievement”.
NACO Volunteer Project, which is a part of the Naval Personal and Family Service and Royal Marines Welfare (NPFS/RMW), is funded by the Royal British Legion. Sue Freeth their Director of Operations said “We are delighted to be supporting NACO Volunteer Project in recognition of the great work they do in supporting the Service community”.
The project has recruited and developed 91 volunteers, from the local Service community; and has provided a variety of training opportunities which has enabled the volunteers to acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence required to perform effectively the duties and tasks for their role. As well as Core training in safeguarding and safety issues, volunteers have also completed First Aid, Food and Hygiene, IT Skills, ECDL, Playwork, Customer Services, Youth Work training, Arts and Crafts and listening skills.
Naval Area Community Officer Dan Richmond said “the success of the project is down to the hard work, dedication and commitment of the volunteers, many of whom, despite having partners away on deployment, continue to go the extra mile to support the community”.