Brighter Futures for Older People, Maidstone, has been presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2011 for performing a vital service throughout the year with its dedicated team of over 70 exceptional volunteers and only two paid members of staff.
Deputy Lieutenant Suresh Khanna CBE DL read the citation which recalled that in 2006, Maidstone Volunteer Bureau (now Voluntary Action Maidstone) won a competitive tender for Government funds to set up Brighter Futures for Older People in response to a genuine need for such a service.
“Having been open for just over five years, they have provided vital support for an ever increasing elderly population in Maidstone and the surrounding areas. Last year, more than 500 elderly people benefitted from the service they offer including regular escorted shopping trips, organised day trips to places of interest, participation in weekly exercise classes and also a very important befriending service.
“This is an outstanding group of volunteers. They perform a vital service by reaching out to those in the community who may be living on their own or need looking after. They have improved the quality of life for many people and make them feel that they belong and are valued members of their communities.”
Presenting the certificate and inscribed crystal trophy to the group’s Manager Peter Way, the Lord Lieutenant, Viscount De L’Isle MBE, said: “Ours is a big county with 1.6 million people, and Brighter Futures for Older People is one of only three out of Kent’s many hundreds of community groups to win The Queen’s Award this year.
“Her Majesty rates the importance of recognising the wonderful work organisations like yours do in the community very highly indeed – and on her behalf I bring heartfelt congratulations and thanks.
“This group is truly exceptional and as Lord Lieutenant I am hugely grateful for the outstanding contribution you make to the well-being and happiness of the older members of the community.”
“This prestigious national award recognises the dedication and effort of public-spirited volunteers like you who make time and contribute so much to help others. You are the backbone of our communities.
“Thank you to all those volunteers who unstintingly give their time and talents to make this wonderful volunteer service such a success – and I am sure obtain a great deal of satisfaction doing it!
“I have the greatest admiration for the excellent work you are doing and I know you will continue to do. And on behalf of Her Majesty I have great pleasure in presenting you with your.
“Very well done to you all, and long may Brighter Futures for Older People continue to flourish.”