Knutsford Hosts receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Knutsford Hosts, the innovative and hugely successful community volunteering scheme founded by Sarah Flannery, has received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
It is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, equivalent to a MBE.
The scheme’s innovation lies in its unique approach. Knutsford Hosts is a town-wide ‘bank’ of community volunteers that local events, charities and organisations can call on for support. More than 100 people have become Hosts and last year alone, the group contributed 3,000 hours of volunteering time.
“It’s a win-win: organisations, events and good causes thrive with an extra – or several! – pair of hands and the Hosts find it very rewarding to support them,” explains chairperson Sarah Flannery.
“Many people struggle to commit to a regular minimum number of hours but our flexible approach has really opened up community volunteering for many people”.
Two representatives from Knutsford Hosts, Sarah and Erica Goggins, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace last week, along with other recipients of this year’s Award. Knutsford Hosts is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
The Knutsford Hosts will receive the award from David Briggs, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, later this summer.
“This award is an exceptional honour for the Hosts,” added Sarah. “I am so thrilled that the work of our group has been recognised. It’s a fitting tribute to all the Hosts – they are so hardworking and generous with their time and fantastic ambassadors for Knutsford who really deserve this award.”