Broadstairs Town Shed ‘Shed Heads’ have received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – popularly known as the MBE for volunteer groups.
The accolade is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation.
Broadstairs Town Shed and its 11 ‘Shed Head’ volunteers are one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the UK 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.
Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Broadstairs Town Shed is a project from Broadstairs Town Team. It’s a place where members take part in woodwork, metalwork, art and other activities in a friendly and supportive environment. Its aims are to help combat loneliness and isolation in older people and to promote health, wellbeing and community engagement. It is run by volunteers.
The ‘Shed Head’ volunteers oversee and manage the day-to-day running of the Shed, based in St. Peter’s. With backgrounds before retirement that range from building, carpentry, antiques, teaching, to the Merchant Navy and taxi driving, the group manage all the activities available.
They have been awarded the prestigious accolade as a group for their commitment, dedication, donation of skills and time in helping other older people learn woodworking skills.
As the project has evolved, so has their involvement, including developing joint activities outside of The Shed ranging from swimming together, table tennis, walking football, cooking and art classes and boules.
With the pandemic meaning The Shed is closed for the time being, the Shed Heads have devised and implemented a rota of keeping in touch by ‘phoning ‘round members and where permitted arranging support with collection of prescriptions and shopping too.
Representatives of the Shed will receive the award from Lord Lieutenant of Kent later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from The Shed will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Peter Stockwell, one of the founder volunteer ‘Shed Heads’ said:”It is a complete surprise to us and a great honour for us all to be recognised in this way. We are part of the Shed because we believe in it, we know how much joy and companionship it brings to all our members, and we are proud in turn for what we have and will continue to do to support other projects in our community through woodworking.”
Kerry Millett, Chair of Broadstairs Town Team, added: “Myself and the other Trustees of Town Team could not be more proud. It is wonderful that their hard work and achievements are being acknowledged in his way. The dedication and donation of time and skills that our amazing Shed Heads give all our members is extraordinary.
“Without them the Shed could not thrive in the way that it has over the last 6 years since we opened. Although they are itching to get back to ‘work’ we know that sadly we shall have to remain closed for the time being, but we shall certainly be having a huge celebration when it is safe for us to be together and say thanks in person and their certificate will take pride of place on our Shed ‘Wall of Fame.’”
The Lady Colgrain, Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and Her Majesty’s official representative in the county, said: “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service honours the finest examples of volunteering.
“These organisations richly deserve royal recognition for all the wonderful work
they are doing to help their community, particularly its most vulnerable and challenged. Their achievements are impressive and heart-warming.
“Volunteering is close to my heart because I know from personal experience how valuable and essential it is to a caring society. That’s the case at any time but especially so during the coronavirus crisis. We are all grateful to the many volunteers who have been helping others during these difficult days.
“I thank everyone who is doing their bit for the community at this and other times.”
The ‘Shed Head’ recipients of the award:
Peter Stockwell, Andy Parkins, Bill Lott, Garry Gillott, Steve Cawood, Vic Pallett, Brian Russell, Richard Tremaine, David Seal, Ron Weedon, and Tony Morgan.