12th November 2019
Recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service receive visit from HRH The Duke of Gloucester
After being honoured with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) in June 2019, specialist aphasia charity, Dyscover was privileged to receive a visit from HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO, to present the Award in its 25th year. Dyscover is a Speech and Language Therapist led organisation based in Leatherhead that supports adults who have aphasia – a devastating speech and language condition commonly acquired through Stroke, brain injury or as part of a rare dementia. The unique and varied services offered support people with aphasia, as well as their families, to re-connect people back into mainstream life – and all this is possible thanks to a strong volunteer team.
Many of these volunteers welcomed His Royal Highness who – accompanied by the Charity’s founder, Gill Jackson MBE – spent time with a small conversation group of beneficiaries, before chatting to a wide variety of volunteers to hear about the different roles they play.
HRH The Duke of Gloucester continued The Royal family’s commitment to tackling mental wellbeing when he visited the social horticulture project The Patchworking Garden in Dorking, to present the charity with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).
Patchworking supports those with a variety of needs through friendship and gardening and this Queen’s Award recognises how both the supported and support gardeners are given the chance to contribute in equal measure. The Royal visitor was shown a new kitchen, therapeutic pond area and round house that have recently been created by supported gardeners and heard how, through these schemes, people have undertaken courses in carpentry and food safety.
“It is fantastic that the efforts of all of our volunteers who are supported or supporting others has been recognised in all that they do for each other through this award,” said Carmel O’Shea, previously a GP and founder of the charity.
Next, His Royal Highness visited Stripey Stork in Reigate to present the charity with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). Founded in 2013, Stripey Stork has become a lifeline for many vulnerable families in the area: it collects new and pre-loved items for babies and children and distributes them via a network of referral partners, including schools, health visitors, social services and women’s refuges. To date, these volunteers have responded to over 8,000 requests for help by providing clothes, books, toys and equipment to a value of over £2.7m.
Accepting the Award, were Founder and General Manager, Nicola Dawes and Trustee Treasurer, Jenny Benfield. His Royal Highness had the opportunity to meet the regular volunteers as well as corporate volunteers, and some of the referral partners who use and value the service.
Nicola Dawes said: “The demand for our service has grown more than we could have imagined and, whilst it saddens us that there is such a need, the power behind being able to answer this call has been these dedicated volunteers. Receiving such a prestigious award is a fitting acknowledgement for all their hard work.”
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