The Mayor of Wolverhampton has sent his congratulations to five charitable organisations from the city who have been awarded the country’s highest award for voluntary service. Big Ventre Centre, Friends of Bantock House, The Well Foodbank, TLC College and Wednesfield in Bloom have all been included as recipients of this year’s prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) - known as the MBE for the voluntary sector.
Wolverhampton’s five award recipients were among 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the country to receive the prestigious award for 2021.
The Big Venture Centre (BVC), based in Chesterton Road, The Scotlands, is a community centre with a “very special caring culture” which provides a wide range of services for all ages including its own radio station, tranquillity garden, café, a befriending service for the elderly, help for victims of domestic violence, advice on money management and during the pandemic centre volunteers have delivered meals and activity packs to families in need and provided socially-distanced doorstep chats to people living alone. All of this and much more is provided by a team of eight main volunteers and 15 helpers.
The Friends of Bantock House is a small charity that has been operating for more than 20 years and is run by 20 dedicated volunteers. The Friends are an enthusiastic and ambitious team who have transformed the Edwardian house, museum and park into a vital and vibrant asset that enriches the lives of many city residents and visitors.
The Well operates city-wide and provides emergency food parcels and toiletries to people in acute need across Wolverhampton and is run by around 100 volunteers. They helped around 10,500 people last year with demand increasing during the pandemic.
TLC College, based in Dunstall, was established in 1997, as a ‘not for profit’ organisation to help local communities, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with training, education and a diverse range of support services. The college promotes well-being, community cohesion, confidence building and offers accessible adult skill courses and youth development activities. It offers volunteer roles in various areas such as teaching, reception, admin and childcare. Its job search programme covers CV writing, applications, interview skills and business mentoring.
Wednesfield In Bloom has been running for four years to provide the town with the beauty and colour of flowers. The team of 55 regular volunteers organise, run and promote the project and are joined by others for specific projects. Their green skills have been recognised with prestigious Heart of England in Bloom awards (2016, 2017, 2018). They received the Gold Community Achievement Award 2019 and were the category winner for Urban Community and as a result have been nominated in the Britain in Bloom finals.
Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton, Councillor Greg Brackenridge said, “I wish to pass on my heartfelt congratulations to the five organisations from Wolverhampton which have been given this most prestigious award recognising outstanding voluntary service.
“We have a thriving voluntary sector in our city where people who care about their fellow Wulfrunians go out of their way and do the most amazing things to enhance and improve the lives of others.
“I am incredibly proud of the organisations named today as recipients of the QAVS and for Wolverhampton to have the most of any area in the region, five out of the 13 announced today in total across the entire West Midlands, is a huge credit to everyone concerned.”
The Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE said; “Through the activities of the West Midlands Lieutenancy, I come across many people providing amazing support and giving their time to help others. It is heart-warming to see so many of these organisations gain the recognition they deserve. I am so grateful for everything they do and am thrilled that we can praise their efforts through the QAVS Honour.
“These special charities make such an effort to support others and, like many people and organisations, have faced some huge challenges in the way they supported their community through the pandemic last year. It is truly inspirational to hear the lengths and imaginative ways the volunteers have gone to in order to provide what is often a lifeline to so many who are vulnerable and in need.”