If you look back to our blog in May you’ll remember that there was a bit of news we’ve been keeping under our hats. We’re delighted that we’re now able to share it with you: our befriending scheme for over 60s, Kilburn Good Neighbours, has won the 2018 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service in the community.
Kilburn Good Neighbours has been running for almost TWO DECADES and supports over 130 local over 60’s to stay happy and independent in their own homes – just where they want to be.
“If I did not have these two lovely young ladies helping me, I would be out of sorts as I am not able to climb ladders etc. because of health problems. I thank Joanna from Kilburn Good Neighbours for sending me these two lovely ladies.” – KGN member
All of this is made possible through the support of our 40-strong team of caring, dedicated, warm and patient volunteers who share cups of tea, conversations, games of scrabble and practical support with their older neighbours. They come from all walks of life and are all ages – some are young professionals who are new to the area; some are retired folk who enjoy community work. All of them are brilliant people who bring light into the lives of older people who, for whatever reason, may have become isolated or housebound.
“I have nothing but praise for Kilburn Neighbours, my volunteer visitor is a most delightful person, I constantly enjoy her visits, we have become good friends.” – KGN member
Some of these volunteers have been with us since the scheme started in 1998, which is incredible and a testament to their dedication to our local community in Kilburn and West Hampstead.
“They are always there if you need them, a phonecall away. As for my (befriender) Y, she is my lifeline to the outside world too as I am housebound due to illness. She is always there when I need a friend or when I am feeling down and lonely. She is the nearest thing to a family I have. We chat about life and things important to me, like history, and we have coffee mornings and lovely talks. We do crosswords to keep my mind active and sharp as I worry about dementia and alzheimers” – KGN member
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is a unique UK national honour was created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers. It’s known as the ‘MBE for volunteer groups’! This year there were 250 winners from across the UK. Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:
Everyone who has received this award should be incredibly proud. Their service, commitment and care has a profoundly positive impact on communities throughout the country and I am delighted they have been recognised with this prestigious award.
As part of our award we received a very exclusive invite to the garden party at Buckingham Palace on Saturday 2nd June, which was very much enjoyed by our scheme manager of 20 years, Joanna, and long-standing volunteer Yvonne. It was a beautiful day for it and they had a great laugh, making sure they queued up twice to sample all the treats on offer!
We would like to thank the Queen’s Award committee and everyone behind the event organisation for a wonderful afternoon, as well as Her Majesty herself of course for this fantastic accolade. We are so proud of our volunteers and we hope this award will really help them to understand the magnitude of what they’re doing week by week – as they boil the kettle, get the scrabble out or pick up the paper on the way to see their befriending partner.
For more info about Kilburn Good Neighbours please do visit our website. And to read more about the Queen’s Award and to see a full list of winners you can click here.
Congratulations to the Kilburn Good Neighbours!