Hyde’s Grafton Centre to receive prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Monday 4th June 2018 @ 13:48 by Tom Greggan
Community Hyde News Tameside

Members, staff and volunteers at the Grafton Centre are celebrating this week after the charity had received a prestigious national award.

It was announced on Saturday that the Centre is one of just 27 organisations in Greater Manchester to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Grafton Centre, formerly known as Pensioners House, is served by almost 30 regular volunteers who clock up over 10,000 hours of service cumulatively. The award is recognition for those volunteers who work so hard all year round to defeat isolation, the centre’s primary purpose.

On Tuesday, one of the centre’s longest-serving volunteers, Joyce Dimelow, accompanied service manager Gaynor Hannon to a garden party at Buckingham Palace while on Wednesday, Hyde & Stalybridge MP Jonathan Reynolds gave the pair a tour of Parliament.

Speaking about the award, Gaynor said: “We want the recognition for the volunteers. At some point in August, we’ll be going to Gorton Monastery to receive the award and we want them to go up and accept it. Cllr Fitzpatrick is going to take them all out as well, as a thank you.

“The recognition they get is important for them because it is a thankless task. They come in every week and they’re not getting paid. They’re doing it for the good of the community and most people don’t see what they do. We have some fantastic members who are very grateful for what they do, and this helps the members appreciate what the volunteers do for them.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Chair of Trustees, Cllr Philip Fitzpatrick added: “Receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2018 represents a tremendous achievement for all of the Grafton Centre volunteers, past and present, who have dedicated countless hours to work within the centre for its’ users and promoting the centre. We hope that everyone involved, and especially all our volunteers, feel immensely proud of the recognition that this award represents.

“Over the past few years the trust has been on an amazing journey and our volunteers and users have been at the heart of this. I want to say thank you to every volunteer since the centre opened its doors many years ago, this award is for everyone who has helped make the centre what it is today. The trustees and I would also like to pay special tribute to the late Cllr Kieran Quinn, former leader of Tameside Council, the centre is where it is today flourishing and growing in no small part thanks to his support over the last decade.”