Volunteers at Charlie House are celebrating the news today that they’ve received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The prestigious award – announced as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend celebrations begin - recognises outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities.
It is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and equivalent to an MBE.
Charlie House was established so that all children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in north-east Scotland receive the support they require. We are raising funds to build a specialist care facility in Aberdeen.
Volunteers are central to the success of our charity with more than 100 volunteers giving their time on a regular basis or helping out with specific events or projects.
They are involved in a diverse range of roles, including providing activities for children and families, donating their time in the social enterprise café ReCHarge and the indoor market Curated Aberdeen, as well as the many and varied fundraising events throughout the year.
Volunteers also give their time and skills to support behind-the-scenes activities such as marketing, finance and general administration.
Joan Cowie, volunteer and information co-ordinator at Charlie House, said: “We are all absolutely delighted at the news of the Queen’s Award. It is such a fitting tribute and welcome recognition of the commitment and dedication of our team of wonderful volunteers who bring their skills, energy and enthusiasm to everything they do.
“Despite reduced volunteering opportunities during lockdown, our volunteers worked really hard to adapt to a new way of working. They donated nearly 4,000 volunteer hours last year alone by delivering online activities to families, recording online tutorials and working remotely.
“They went above and beyond to provide invaluable support to the families, many of whom experienced long periods in isolation, shielding their vulnerable children.
“Charlie House volunteers play an incredibly important role in our community.
“Our mission is to reach the 1,800 babies, children and young people with life limiting or life-shortening conditions who live in the north-east of Scotland. At every level of our organisation, volunteers are helping us to achieve our goals – their support is truly invaluable.”
Volunteer Ruby said: “My volunteer experience has been great so far. There are always great opportunities to get involved and to get to know the support team, different volunteers, and the families.
“I’m in a lucky position where I get to see the benefits that Charlie House’s support has to families.”
Charlie House is one of 244 UK local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.
We were founded in 2011 by local mum, Tracy Johnstone. It followed her own struggle to find support locally for her son Louis, whose needs meant the family had to travel over 100 miles to the nearest support facility.
Charlie House believes that every child should receive a smooth transition from hospital to home, and practical and emotional support should be available for themselves and their family. We provide access to inclusive activities so that they can live life to the full and make memories for the whole family to treasure.
In 2018, we launched the Big Build Appeal to build a dedicated support centre in Aberdeen so that families no longer need to travel huge distances to get vital support, respite and care.
The contribution of Charlie House volunteers, along with others from across the UK, act as a reminder of the value that volunteers are contributing to their local communities and making life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee and recipients are announced each year on 2 June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.
Representatives of Charlie House will receive the award crystal and certificate from Aberdeen’s Lord Provost Dr David Cameron later this summer. In addition, two volunteers will attend a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in July 2023.
Images courtesy of Abermedia