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QAVS Award Buckingham Palace

02 June 2017

Nightshelter Manager meets The Queen as Volunteers receive Royal Award

The Manager of Winchester Churches Nightshelter, Michele Price and Mrs Marion Fletcher, the Nightshelter’s volunteer Treasurer for over 28 years attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, June 1st, where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award. It was announced on Friday, June 2nd that the Nightshelter’s army of over 230 volunteers have received the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) for 2017. Described as the equivalent of an MBE, the QAVS is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.

Mrs Price said on winning the award:

“It was such a massive honour for Marion and I to be presented to the Queen on behalf of all our amazing volunteers. We had a really good chat about the work we do – and how the service has evolved from mattresses on the floor in a different venue every night to our current base in Jewry Street where people are supported with a massive range of services to help them prepare for living independently."

“We also talked with her about the cycle of people who return to us between going in and out of prison and she shared our sadness that for some people prison feels like a place of safety. We discussed her Award being announced today and she agreed it was a very worthy award for volunteers who provide such a valuable service for us.”

The Nightshelter’s volunteer workforce means the charity saves around £80,000 per year. Without its volunteer cooks and overnight helpers the Nightshelter simply could not operate. Volunteer business advice, maintenance and cleaning all mean that the Nightshelter has been able to expand its services to offer residents individual programmes of mental health support, cookery workshops, financial and budgetary advice to help them progress to a stable, productive future.

“The Nightshelter prides itself on being more than just a homeless shelter. We offer hope, support, and a safe home as well as enabling progression into sustainable independent living. By offering individual case management and support, residents are given the opportunity to access more permanent accommodation and hopefully to escape homelessness for good – as one former resident enthused about the support he received: “it sends you away more complete and better able to cope.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was first announced in 2002 to mark the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation and beneficiaries are announced each year on June 2nd. A signed certificate from Her Majesty the Queen and a domed glass crystal will be presented by the Lord Lieutenant to the Winchester Churches Nightshelter later in the summer.