We are delighted to announce that Buckinghamshire Mind has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. The award is considered to be the MBE for voluntary groups.
The award recognises the incredible contribution of the charity’s volunteers and the huge benefit they bring to the community. Buckinghamshire Mind has over 570 volunteers who are integral to the delivery of many of the charity’s mental health services. Over two thirds of these volunteers are children and young people who have trained to be Peer Supporters within their own schools. All the volunteers enable Buckinghamshire Mind to deliver services at a scale in the community that it simply could not do without them.
Buckinghamshire Mind’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, Tori Roddy, attended a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Majesty The Queen, on 29th May, to represent all our volunteers and celebrate the award to Buckinghamshire Mind of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. She was accompanied by Andrea McCubbin, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Mind.
“As a volunteer myself, I am absolutely delighted that Buckinghamshire Mind’s volunteers have been recognised with this most prestigious award,” said Tori Roddy. “The contribution of our volunteers is invaluable, enabling us to better respond to demand and help so many more people. I was deeply honoured to be able represent all our wonderful volunteers at the Royal Garden Party and I’m looking forward to celebrating with my fellow volunteers when the award is officially presented to Buckinghamshire Mind.”
Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, will present the award to Buckinghamshire Mind at a special celebratory event for volunteers later this year.
Volunteers support all areas of Buckinghamshire Mind including wellbeing and peer support groups, befriending, Peer Support in Schools, administration, website development, counselling, employment support and governing the charity as a trustee.
Volunteers support staff to help people of all ages, from older adults to children as young as four. Over 15,000 lives were touched by Buckinghamshire Mind in 2018/19, which couldn’t have been achieved without the volunteers.
There are also huge benefits for volunteers, including increased skills, confidence, self-esteem and mental and physical health. Children who volunteer as Peer Mentors gain invaluable skills and experience that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Buckinghamshire Mind provides career development opportunities such as placements for trainee counsellors. Volunteers often progress to employment within Buckinghamshire Mind or another organisation.
“I started volunteering at university and gained a lot from this on both a personal and professional level, which is one of the reasons I wanted to continue to volunteer after finishing university, explained Ihuoma, volunteer befriender for Buckinghamshire Mind. “Volunteering with Buckinghamshire Mind was a really good opportunity for me to gain some experience of working with people with a range of different experiences in terms of their mental health. I have learnt so much from the service users that I have worked with.”
To find out more about volunteering for Buckinghamshire Mind, please visit: www.bucksmind.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering