The Duke of Gloucester visited organisations in Surrey this week to present them with their Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) was created to mark Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers. Any group of two or more people doing volunteering work can be nominated for the award for providing a service that meets a need for people living in the local community.
In Leatherhead, The Duke of Gloucester visited Dyscover, a Speech and Language Therapist led organisation, supported by volunteers, which helps people with aphasia as well as their families, through communication groups and other programmes. Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain-most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals.
The Duke met charity leaders, beneficiaries and volunteers and heard how Dyscover services aim to re-connect people with aphasia back into mainstream life.
In Dorking, The Duke of Gloucester visited the Patchworking Garden Project; a volunteer-led horticulture project which supports people with a variety of needs through friendship and gardening to help with their mental wellbeing. The Duke met gardener Ellis, who told His Royal Highness how the project builds confidence and skills and offers a quiet space and companionship.
The Duke met gardeners and heard how increasing numbers of people are being helped by the project, which has expanded to include a new kitchen, therapeutic pond area and round house and beneficiaries are taking courses in carpentry and food safety to gain new skills and greater confidence.
The Duke of Gloucester also presented The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to Stripey Stork. Stripey Stork was founded in East Surrey 2013, and has become a lifeline for many vulnerable families in the area. The charity collects new and pre-loved items for babies and children and distributes them to needy families via a network of referral partners, including schools, health visitors, social services and women’s refuges. To date, they have responded to over 8000 requests for help by providing clothes, books, toys and equipment to a value of over £2.7m.