In recognition of the exceptional work and many, many hours undertaken to support Shropshire’s homeless and vulnerable, the 60 plus strong team of volunteers behind The Shrewsbury Ark and The Shrewsbury Ark charity shop has been honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The Shrewsbury Ark runs day centre and outreach services in the Shrewsbury area. The well-known charity is based opposite Shrewsbury station and offers basic facilities, hot food and emotional and administrative support to those in need. Working alongside a small, dedicated team of staff, volunteers are responsible for the day to day running of the centre from cooking and cleaning to form filling and mentoring.
Supporting the day centre both financially and by providing clothing and other items free of charge for clients, The Ark Charity shop on Castle Street employs a manager and is supported by another committed team of volunteers. Volunteer roles vary from sorting stock to admin and serving customers.
The Shrewsbury Ark and charity shop are run by the Shrewsbury Christian Centre Association charity, which is overseen by a talented team of volunteer trustees. It is one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including a community shop in Cornwall, an environmental group in Swansea, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and a thriving community arts centre in County Down.
Representatives of The Shrewsbury Ark will receive the award from Anna Turner JP, Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire later this summer. Furthermore, two lucky volunteers, who will be selected at random, will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Chair of the Ark, Karen Higgins says: “The Shrewsbury Ark day centre and shop simply would not exist without our hugely dedicated team of volunteers. We are absolutely delighted that their hard work and commitment has been recognised in this way. It’s a wonderful opportunity to thank each one of them for their service to the homeless and vulnerable in our community.”