Good News for Basingstoke NeighbourCare
Basingstoke NeighbourCare receives the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
Basingstoke NeighbourCare were honoured to recently welcome the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq. to a special gathering of Basingstoke NeighbourCare volunteers at the Apollo Hotel. At the event, the Lord Lieutenant, together with the Mayor of Basingstoke Cllr Onnalee Cubitt and Sean Keating a former Mayor were in attendance, when Mr Atkinson was able to finally present the Queen’s Award in person, after it was awarded during lockdown, in June 2020. The small group present was able to witness receipt of a signed certificate from Her Majesty the Queen, and a crystal award with the QAVS insignia.
Welcoming the distinguished guests, the Chair of Basingstoke NeighbourCare Colin Hunsley said, “This is a tremendous achievement which recognises the dedication, excellence and compassion of our volunteers who have continued to provide a service throughout the pandemic. While the award was made before Covid, it is recognition of the efforts and flexibility many of the volunteers have demonstrated which makes Basingstoke NeighbourCare the success it is. We all feel very honoured to be a part of an organisation receiving such a prestigious award.”
The Lord Lieutenant explained that he had been a judge for the QAVS since it started, and that NeighbourCare’s nomination was judged as being very special as the service it provides is much needed by the local community. He was also impressed to see that we support over 500 people in the local community, thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of our trustees, volunteers, and supporters.
He added “NeighbourCare is a vital service to the residents of Basingstoke and Deane, especially those who are vulnerable by virtue of age or infirmity. NeighbourCare continues to make a hugely positive contribution to the quality of life and the wellbeing of all those who they support. We should be proud to have this service as part of our local community”.
The QAVS is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon groups of this kind and is equivalent in status to the MBE and is awarded for life. There were only 230 winners in the UK in 2020, all of whom have been nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally by, or witnessed the benefits of, a group’s work in their community.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020
Basingstoke NeighbourCare has been selected as a recipient for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020. This is a tremendous achievement for our organisation and our volunteers are immensely proud of it. We are one of 230 charities in the UK receiving this prestigious award this year.
Our citation is for: Providing accompanied driving and befriending services for elderly people to reduce isolation.
This confirms our work in the local community supporting hundreds of elderly people with limited mobility and those lonely clients who value our volunteers’ regular companionship.
NeighbourCare’s Chair, Colin Hunsley says: “This is a tremendous achievement which recognises the dedication, excellence and compassion of our volunteers and follows the Celebration of our 21st year in the Anvil in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant and Mayor.”
Currently we are not able to operate at full strength as demand is lower than normal and most of our drivers are over 70. Our Coordinators are communicating by phone with all our clients who we might have been transporting. Our 40 befriending volunteers are in constant touch by phone to ensure people have what they need and are not completely isolated. The local community has volunteered in a number of ways and we may be able to recruit many more volunteers when activities return to normal.
Thank you to our Volunteers
Christmas Party 2019
Great turn out for this year’s festive celebrations. Trustees, Volunteers, Guests and Staff all enjoyed some delicious snacks and non-alcoholic mulled wine. We were delighted to see our Patron, Lady Portsmouth and good to see old friends and to put names to faces.
Mid-way through the evening’s activities, Trustee and Chair, Colin Hunsley announced our long service awards. Ahead of these awards, thanks were offered to all those who have contributed tirelessly to NeighbourCare’s success this year - our drivers and befrienders, trustees and the many other, often un-sung helpers who make it all possible. Thank you one and all.
A huge thank you to our Long Service Award recipients:
Gerald, centre who has completed 15 years as a volunteer driver, with Colin Hunsley (Chairman) and Lady Portsmouth (Patron)
Mike and Jane who have completed 10 years as volunteer drivers
Our volunteers Carol, David and Cyril have also completed 10 years but were unable to attend.
Thank you for all the journeys you have done to help people in the Basingstoke area.
21st ANNIVERSARY EVENT
September 2018 marked the 21st year of Basingstoke NeighbourCare. A tea party celebration was held at the Anvil. Present were the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, NeighbourCare Patron Lady Portsmouth and the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane.
Basingstoke NeighbourCare chair Colin Hunsley said: “I would like to thank our drivers and all the other wonderful volunteers who provide our driving and befriending service. They are what make this charity a success, without them we would be nothing. I would also like to thank our Coordinators who provide the glue that links the clients and their requirements to the volunteers who provide the services.”
The event was attended by people who have been with the charity for many years including Gerald Merritt who has been a volunteer driver for 14 years after spotting an advert in the Gazette. Gerald said: “It’s so interesting to do as you get to meet so many different people, I really could fill a book with the stories I get told. “You really get to know the people that you drive around and for some people you are the only other person they will see that day and they really open up to you. They always appreciate us, and we are lucky to have this service here.”
Borough Mayor Cllr Sean Keating, who was a volunteer driver with NeighbourCare for 10 years, after he took early retirement, said: “I’m delighted with how NeighbourCare is now. It is very well organised, and it was great fun when I was doing it.
The Celebration Tea Party was attended by 100 volunteers, previous staff and Trustees, associated charities including Basingstoke Voluntary Action and members of the County and local Council. A special Celebration Cake was enjoyed by everyone.
10 YEAR AWARDS
Congratulations and a big thank you to Andrew and Derek for completing 10 years as volunteer drivers with Basingstoke NeighbourCare.
15 YEAR AWARDS
Many congratulations to our four long serving volunteers Val, Jim, Janet and Alan who, in 2015, completed 15 years with Basingstoke NeighbourCare:
Volunteers Val (left) Jim (right), with Lady Portsmouth (centre). We are very sorry to announce that Jim has passed away. He will be very much missed by all.
Volunteer Alan with Cherry Clayton and Diana Charnell
Their clients say that they are kind and caring and do not know what they would do without them. Thank you so much.