Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Queen's Award for Voluntary Service presented to Hope Centre

THE monarch's official representative in Somerset has been to Minehead to officially recognise the work of a Christian charity. The county's Lord Lieutenant Annie Maw carried out one of her last engagements before retiring to deliver an accolade awarded in the summer by the late Queen.

Mrs Maw presented the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to Hope Centre trustee Paul McCabe. Fellow charity trustee Ian McLaren said: "Annie Maw who wanted to visit us in Minehead before her retirement as Lord Lieutenant of Somerset.

"Paul received the award as a recognition of all the amazing volunteers, past and present, who over the last 11 years have cooked and cleaned and spent time with our clients, helping them, laughing with them and sometimes crying with them.

"Paul thanked every person who has been part of the team and God who gives us the very hope which is at the centre of the Hope Centre."

The accolade for The Minehead Hope Centre Trust is the highest a local voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The organisation, based at Minehead Baptist Church, in Parks Lane, supports people in West Somerset who are homeless, lonely, anxious or disadvantaged in any way or who have problems associated with drugs and alcohol.

The aim of the charity is to help people get their lives back on track.

The centre is described as "a place of Christian hospitality, friendship, support, advice but most of all hope".

It holds drop in sessions each Monday, Tuesday and Friday through a team of three part-time project workers and more than 20 volunteers.

Earlier this year, Mr McLaren told the County Gazette: "The key thing that we do is to listen to our clients who often find it hard to have hope for their future.

"Without our volunteers, it would not be possible for us to engage with all the people that we are in contact with."

TMHCT is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities and was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Next May, two volunteers who offer their services at the Hope Centre will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace, along with representatives of the other recipients of this year’s award.