Back in June*, the Lower Kersal Young People and Community Group (LKYPCG) won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, which is the MBE for volunteer groups, and this week the group, along with the Critchley Community Hub, picked up the award at a special ceremony at Gorton Monastery.
The two Salford organisations, along with 25 other groups from around Greater Manchester, collected an engraved, commemorative crystal trophy and a certificate signed by the Queen and presented by Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren Smith, and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Paul Griffiths DL.
"Lower Kersal and Lower Broughton are particularly deprived areas of Salford" says LKYPCG co-founder Tommy Lever, himself an MBE "As we provide activities at no cost, families living in poverty are able to access a wide range of opportunities that would otherwise be beyond their reach.
"We can teach people vital skills to help make their budget stretch further" he adds "Also some of the children attending the drama and media groups have gone on to university or college to study drama which is fantastic. We couldn't do any of this without our army of volunteers so this award is a well deserved pat on the back for everyone involved."
Critchley Community Hub is part of Age UK Salford, based in Swinton, and is primarily a place for older people, where they can make friends, learn new skills, re-kindle a long-lost hobby and join in many of the activities on offer including knitting, reading, basic IT, gardening groups and craft and film clubs. Around one hundred local people a week attend the centre of all ages.
"We now have around 5,000 users to the centre every year, which is a huge increase since we started five years ago" says Nichola Swettenham, Centre Manager at the Critchley Community Hub "This shows we're providing a necessary and well used service. We have only two paid staff, so we couldn't run the centre without the one hundred volunteers who work with us. It's so wonderful to get this recognition for all their hard work and commitment."
Commenting on the two Salford winners, Warren Smith, added: "These are two inspirational groups who really make a difference to people's lives. This year we had 27, a record number of recipients, more than any other year, and far more than any other county.
"Since these awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Queen's coronation, we have met so many deserving groups who give their time freely for the benefit of others" he explained "The annual event at Gorton Monastery is such an uplifting and inspiring day. I would like to encourage more nominations for social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups in Greater Manchester before the September deadline."
The closing date for nominations for the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2019 awards is 14th September. Organisations that have been operating for at least three years, and whose workforce is more than half voluntary are eligible to be nominated. For information on how to nominate a group, visit: www.manchesterlieutenancy.org or www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service
* For full background on the award to LKYPCG see previous Salford Star article – click here
Main photo shows LKYPCG members with their award