Council bosses have hailed a park’s volunteer friends group after they were today announced as recipients of the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member responsible for parks, met up with the Friends and Residents of Buffery Park to celebrate news of the award.
The group, made up of 20 volunteers, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
The friends and residents’ group is one of just 13 across the West Midlands to be named as recipients today. The award is given to groups who deliver exceptional service within their communities and rely on volunteers to deliver their outstanding contribution.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm, said:
`I was delighted to hear the friends and residents had won the Queen’s Award, the most prestigious a volunteer group can win.
Through their hard work, it has been transformed into a vibrant park enjoyed by the whole community. It proved an especially valued open space during the lockdowns last year.
`As well as the park, the group also manages the sports facilities and the community centre on site, and they run a valuable befriending service for local elderly people which is particularly praiseworthy.
`The group give up hours of their own time to provide an exceptional park and facilities the whole community can be proud of. I am sure everyone will join me in giving this special group a huge congratulations on a well-deserved win.`
Stephen Briscoe, chairman of the Friends and Residents of Buffery Park, said:
`It has been an honour for the Friends and Residents of Buffery Park to win the Queens Award for volunteering.
`It was a privilege to be nominated in the first place.
`Personally, it has given me an enormous amount of satisfaction to see the group receive the award.
`It is a credit to the enormous hard work of members past and present – they know who they are – who have worked hard to make the park what it is today, a wonderful green space that the local community can be all proud of.
`Over the years we have met lots of people who love the park and green spaces like ourselves, generations who have attended our events, those who have encouraged us, those who have been there when we needed them for support. We would like to thank you all.`
Black Country Radio, based in Brierley Hill, was the only other recipient of the award from the borough.
Any group of two or more people that has participated in voluntary work for three years can be put forward.
Details on how to nominate for 2022 can be found at https://www.mayorofdudley.org.uk/queens-honours