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David Fursdon, Lord-Lieutenant of Devon presented Westbank’s Neighbourhood Friends volunteers with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Westbank Neighbourhood Friends volunteers, who are based in Devon, were delighted to welcome David Fursdon, Lord-Lieutenant of Devon to Westbank where they were presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service crystal, certificate and individual badges.

Westbank Neighbourhood Friends help vulnerable or frail people aged 18 and over from Exeter, East and Mid Devon to stay out of hospital or to have shorter hospital stays. The service simply matches volunteers who want to help with people who need assistance on their onward journey from hospital.  

Nina Parnell, Westbank Head of Volunteering and Community Support, says, “The Covid-19 crisis has put our ‘Can Do’ reputation to the test. Our dedicated Neighbourhood Friends team of volunteers rose to the challenge by providing support to over 2,030 patients. As always, volunteers answered the call quickly, they moved beds to make way for hospital beds and equipment; they installed key safes so carers could gain access; and they provided a bit of company and a warm drink to patients following a stay in hospital. They did all of this whilst the country was in lockdown, and at no point ever questioned why they wouldn’t help.”

“We are incredibly proud that our Neighbourhood Friends project has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and pay tribute to the dedication, hard work and commitment of our truly deserving team of volunteers.”

Jenny Luscombe the charities longest serving volunteer said “It was such a pleasure to meet the Lord Lieutenant of Devon and an honour to have received The Queen’s Award, which is the equivalent of receiving an MBE for people like myself who give their time to volunteer.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, 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.