Citizens Advice Exeter has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK. The award is the most prestigious available to voluntary organisations and is the equivalent of an MBE for an individual.
The only Citizens Advice ever to win the award in the region, the volunteers of Citizens Advice Exeter join a handful of Citizens Advice organisations nationally to have been honoured with the award.
Steve Barriball, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Exeter said: “We are thrilled and delighted with this award. It’s testament to the dedication of both our volunteers and employees during a time when demand for our service has been amongst the highest ever. The work the team does is so vital, often providing support in times of uncertainty or crisis for our clients. We want to use the award to further raise awareness of what we do and how people can access our services or support us, either as businesses or individuals.”
Volunteers donate time worth half a million pounds in 2015
Citizens Advice Exeter has calculated that its volunteers gave more than 35,000 hours in the last year and estimates the financial value of this time to be worth in excess of half a million pounds at £550,000. Support from businesses has also been vital in delivering the service, either through gifts in kind or donations and fundraising.
Dennis Mardon, Chair, Citizens Advice Exeter, said: “As an organisation so dependent on volunteers, this award means a huge amount to us. It’s a good opportunity take stock of all that has been achieved over the years, the growth of the charity and the fact that we continue to thrive in what have been tough economic circumstances in recent years. In order to continue delivering our service we need support. We are reliant on grants and donations in order for our service to continue to help those who need us.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the very best of democracy in action.”
Last year Citizens Advice Exeter helped 22,730 clients with 35,606 individual problems through a mix of on-line services, self-help facilities, telephone access and face to face interviews.
The award is due to be presented on behalf of Her Majesty by HM Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon, at a ceremony later in the year. Winners will receive a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal.
Citizens Advice Exeter is an independent registered charity. It relies on grants and donations to maintain its core activity and implement new projects. Anyone wishing to support the work of the charity can donate on-line by going to the Support Us section of their website (www.citizensadviceexeter.org.uk).