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Local volunteers recognised and honoured

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Nearly 100 local organisations were honoured today in recognition of the outstanding work they carry out in their communities.

The Department for Communities held a celebration event in Mossley Mill to mark the 15th anniversary of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise their outstanding work.

Since the Award was created, 96 organisations from Northern Ireland have received this recognition.

Leo O’Reilly, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities said: “This celebration event acknowledges the tireless work of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community. These groups clearly improve the quality of life and opportunity for others and provide an outstanding service. They fully deserve this recognition. ”

Sir Martyn Lewis Chair of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee said: “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is our country’s top award for groups of volunteers who beaver away at grassroots level to transform some aspect of life in their local community. Since being established by the Queen to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002, the awards have shown the people of Northern Ireland at their very best, coming together from all sections of society to touch virtually every area of need. Volunteering taps into a rich spirit of generosity and kindness, which I recognise only too well from my schooldays in Northern Ireland.”

Denise Hayward, Chief Executive of Volunteer Now, said: “Volunteer Now is delighted to be involved with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and with support from the Department for Communities we have been able to raise the profile of the Award and help many more volunteers get recognition for the time and commitment that they give to our communities. This has been a great event highlighting the real difference that volunteers can make.”

Speaking to Causeway Coast Community Councillor William McCandless said “Congratulations to RDA & Bushfoot for the sterling work which is performed by their volunteers for the benefit of the community. In the UK it is estimated that 15M people volunteer on a regular basis. The Bank of England estimates that the financial contribution volunteering saves to the economy is £ 50 BN. The strength of a community transcends politics and the community is the bedrock of our country. This is where the rubber hits the road.”

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