Just a day after the announcement of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, Charlie House founder Tracy Johnstone was named as a national Platinum Champion.
Organised by the Royal Voluntary Service, the Platinum Champions Award recognises volunteers from all corners of Britain and from a range of causes.
And they have the Royal seal of approval, through the Royal Voluntary Service President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. BBC’s The One Show and Morning Live are also showcasing some of the stories.
Tracy said: “I am absolutely blown away by the news, especially following our Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service yesterday (Thursday).
“It is incredibly humbling and not something I ever thought about when I set out trying to make a difference for children like my son in our community.
“We have come so far in the 11 years since Charlie House was formed and its success is down to the enthusiasm and good will of the people of the North-east getting behind our dream and supporting us.
“It is so wonderful that all this recognition has come in Volunteers Week, held to thank volunteers and give recognition not only to them but to the huge difference they make to people and their communities.
“I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my family, the Charlie House team and the amazing generosity of the public and businesses in the North-east.”
A total of 490 volunteers across the UK have been selected as Platinum Champions and receive a specially designed, official Platinum Champions pin and a signed certificate from the Duchess of Cornwall.
“In honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of service, we want to celebrate the outstanding contribution of volunteers,” said Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
“We want to thank and recognise all of those truly special people that are making a real difference to our communities with their kindness and generosity.
“I believe it is these volunteers, enhancing the lives of others, that are the backbone of this country.”
In 2008, Tracy and her husband Craig were expecting twins to join older son Ellis, Tracy went into labour prematurely and the twins were delivered at 24 weeks. The family unfortunately only had a day with their daughter Eva, who passed away the day following the twins’ birth.
Louis, however, battled on through many operations and procedures and spent the majority of his first year in hospital. Tracy found it an extremely stressful time juggling family life with hospital life, trying to have quality time with Ellis and make sure that Louis was cared for too.
As Louis developed, it became apparent that he would have severe disabilities and multiple complex medical needs, he would need 24-hour care, seven days a week and potentially would not live to adulthood.
The family tried everywhere locally to get support but there was none. Louis was too complex for most of the local support networks and eventually, the family had to travel over 100 miles to the nearest support facility.
Tracy and Craig couldn’t understand why there was no support facility or network in the North-east and set out determined to make a difference by starting their own charity.
Charlie House was born, with the aim of making sure that all children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in North-east Scotland receive the support they require.
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.
Nominations for Platinum Champions Awards were made in the following categories:
- Older people and dementia support
- Young people and children
- Crisis and welfare
- Mental health and companionship
- Physical health and disability
- NHS and social care
The judging panel was made up of volunteering experts, celebrity supporters and academics who sifted through the raft of nominations illustrating countless triumphs of volunteers from all corners of the country.
Image courtesy of Abermedia