Community News From Around Our Area

The Friendship Project Receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The Friendship Project for children, a volunteer-based charity in Warwickshire has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Friendship Project operates throughout Warwickshire with the primary aim of supporting children disadvantaged by family circumstances. All children aged between 6 and 16 are referred to the charity through children’s social services and are then provided with an ‘older friend’ from the charity who takes them out and spends time with them for a few hours each week. There are many social reasons why children are in need of this kind of support, but experience has shown that a weekly visit by someone who cares does make a difference. The visit could be doing something as simple as a walk in the park or baking a cake, but also sometimes includes activities which the child would otherwise not get to experience, like a trip to the cinema or the opportunity to join a local sports club.

Representatives from the Friendship Project attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

The Friendship Project is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on the 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport, volunteers using caravans as mobile café/information centres in geographically remote locations and the Friendship Project working with children to help build their confidence, improve self-esteem and their outlook on life.

Representatives of the Friendship Project will receive the award from Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire later this summer.

Cheryll Rawbone, Chairman of the Friendship Project said, “We are delighted to have the hard work, time and commitment from our ‘older friends’ and trustees recognised by such a prestigious award. Since the charity started in 1986, we have been able to make a positive difference to over 1000 children in Warwickshire. We are actively seeking more volunteers to become ‘older friends’ to enable us to continue our work and to support many more children.”

For more information on the Friendship Project visit www.friendshipproject.co.uk or call 0845 838 2098.