Queen’s Award Win
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant presented the
Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Left: John Homstrom (Chief Executive) Right: Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was presented to our charity on Wednesday 1st September 2021 by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper at the Littlehampton Community Hub.
The award is the highest of it’s kind given in the sector across the UK. The award is considered the MBE for volunteer groups, recognising the outstanding service volunteers have made to their local community.
Officially announced back in June 2020, the actual award presentation had been delayed to ensure everyone’s safety. Mrs Pyper, presenting the award on behalf of the Queen, spoke passionately to the volunteers in the audience:
“You are a group of very special people. Very few actually get awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, so it is a very prestigious award. You have set the bar very high… You are a group of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and in this case, I really, really mean it.”
Other distinguished guests attending were the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Neil Hart and his wife, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Councillor Amanda Jupp and Leader of Arun Council, Councillor Shaun Gunner who spoke with volunteers throughout the event to learn more about their roles at the charity. Volunteers remarked the award ceremony had made them feel truly honoured.
Our Chief Executive, John Holmstrom received the award on behalf of the volunteers:
“We were absolutely thrilled to have won this award and it is with great honour that I accepted the award on behalf of our wonderful volunteers. Our charity was founded on the sheer effort, spirit and tenacity of a group of volunteers who wanted to make a real difference to those locally who had nowhere to call home. This award is dedicated to them and all the volunteers who have supported us throughout our 29 years. Their dedication, passion and selflessness continues to be invaluable.”
Mrs Pyper described the assessment process for the award as a “formidable experience“, undertaken by Senior Deputy Lieutenants Peter Webb and Simon Knight, who also attended the event. John Holmstrom recalled the rigorous evaluation process, which went into everything from safeguarding to finances:
“I think what struck the assessors was the breadth of our volunteers, in age and background, the range of skills, Volunteers are an incredible resource and they make a huge difference … They create a bridge between our community out there and our clients.”
Community Development Manager, Alison Nicholson, who has managed the volunteer team over 5 years, felt great pride at the event:
“The enormity of this award has really been palpable today. It is just so heart-warming to be celebrating this achievement together. We are welcoming more of our volunteers back into projects, as restrictions ease and our clients and staff are so appreciative of our volunteers’ warmth, enthusiasm and commitment. During the pandemic our volunteers have played a big part in responding to the crisis – providing befriending, telephone catch ups as well as batch cooking meals and delivering essential food, clothing and hygiene supplies to clients throughout the county. At times of immense isolation, during lockdowns, they were there for people who really needed them. At Christmas, they helped to cook and deliver 967 meals across West Sussex.”
Prestigious Queen’s Award won by Turning Tides
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and on the 2nd June it will be announced that this prestigious accolade is being awarded to – Turning Tides. We are one of just 230 selected organisations across the country who are to receive the award, which celebrates the huge contribution made by the voluntary sector to benefit the lives of others in their community.
Chief Executive, John Holmstrom is delighted:
“Our charity was founded on the sheer effort, spirit and tenacity of a group of volunteers who wanted to make a real difference to those locally who had nowhere to call home. This award is dedicated to them and all the volunteers we have had supporting us throughout our 28 years. Their dedication, passion and selflessness continues to be invaluable. Even now, when the nation faces it’s biggest crisis, our volunteers have reshaped the support they offer us and our clients.”
We are one of the largest providers of homeless services for single people in West Sussex, running 21 projects in various locations across the county. We have almost 300 volunteers and 140 paid staff supporting its mission to end local homelessness.
Our charity is currently seeing a steep rise in the need for our services across the county due to the Covid pandemic. Prior to Covid, we already supported 200 clients in residential projects and 245 homeless people through outreach work. Now, we are supporting as many as a further 150 homeless men and women who have been temporarily housed in hotels to protect them from the virus. This number is set to grow as the virus escalates financial hardship. These exceptional circumstances led us to launch our first ever Emergency Appeal asking for support from the community: Link
Our volunteers have had a big part to play in responding to the crisis and they continue to find new ways of supporting homeless men and women by batch cooking meals and delivering essential food, clothing and hygiene supplies. Turning Tides’ volunteers also offer much needed warmth, support and friendship to homeless people.
Paul, a former client, recalls how precious the care and warmth he received from volunteers at St Clare’s Community Hub (Worthing) was:
“I had been living on the streets for 2 years. I was profoundly distressed, scared and alone when I came to St Clare’s for help… I recall the warmth and humanity of the volunteers in the kitchen. These memories still move me today at a time when I’m so relieved to say, my life is in good shape now.”
Community Development Manager, Alison Nicholson highlights:
“The volunteering spirit truly thrives in our charity and we are thrilled to have this acknowledged by the award. In the last financial year (2019-2020) almost 300 volunteers collectively gave over 18,000 hours of their time to support our charity. For our volunteers to be recognised nationally for their outstanding energy and efforts in our community is wonderful.”